Fulfilling one of his core campaign promises, President Donald Trump began "Day One" of his new administration by signing an executive order to begin the process of withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Congress had not ratified the landmark trade deal and it had not gone into force, so today's executive order will have little impact on existing US trade flows. However, the move sends a clear message from the Trump Administration that it is serious about following through on its vision of profoundly altering the policy of the U.S. regarding trade and globalization.

"We've been talking about this for a long time," Trump said as he signed the executive order in an Oval Office ceremony earlier today, calling the move a "great thing for the American worker." As part of the order, Trump required that future trade deals be negotiated on a bilateral, country-to-country basis, and as not part of regional trade deals. (See also: Trump May Kill Jobs With Tariffs, NAFTA Exit.)

Negotiators from 12 nations had concluded the TPP agreement in February 2015 after seven years of difficult negotiations. Signatories include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Brunei. They together represent 40% of the world economy.

In late December, CNN reported that the Trump team had been discussing the possibility of early executive action imposing tariffs on foreign imports. Those reports discussed Trump insiders saying a 10% levy could be immediately imposed on all imports. Earlier in December, Trump himself took to Twitter to threaten consequences like a 35% import tariff “for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units etc., back across the border.”

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