Trump Signs Executive Order Withdrawing U.S. From TPP Trade Deal

President also orders federal hiring freeze, except for military

Donald Trump
Donald Trump / AP
January 23, 2017

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a landmark 12-nation trade agreement struck under the Obama administration with Pacific Rim countries that was never ratified by the U.S. Congress.

It is a "great thing for the American worker, what we just did," Trump said after signing the order. He has argued that the TPP harms American workers.

White House officials told CNBC the president would begin trade negotiations with individual countries in the TPP at the same time his administration works to undo the deal.

The president on Monday also signed two additional executive orders: a federal hiring freeze, except for the military, to limit the size of the civil service, and a limit on abortion funding overseas.

Trump was expected to sign another executive order to outline his plan to renegotiate the 23-year-old free trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, a White House official confirmed earlier.

Trump reaffirmed his pledge to rollback the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Sunday during a swearing-in ceremony for senior White House advisers, CNBC reported.

"We will be starting negotiations having to do with NAFTA," Trump said. "We are going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration, and on security at the border."

The free trade deal signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1994 was intended to eliminate nearly all tariffs between the three participating nations. The deal also made it easier for U.S. companies to transfer operations to Mexico.

Trump has blamed the agreement for killing U.S. jobs and damaging the American manufacturing sector. He said in October if his administration was unable to renegotiate a "great" NAFTA deal he would "tear it up."

Trump plans to meet with union leaders and blue-collar workers just hours after signing the orders on Monday. The president has vowed to pursue policies that put "America first" and revive the working class.