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Trump moves to pull US out of Pacific-Rim trade deal

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM


President Donald Trump moved to pull the United States out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact yesterday, dealing a quick blow to Barack Obama's legacy as the new chief executive began fulfilling campaign promises in his first full week in office.

"Great thing for the American worker that we just did," Trump said in brief remarks as he signed a notice in the Oval Office.

The president also signed memorandums freezing most federal government hiring, though he noted an exception for the military, and reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. The regulation, known as the 'Mexico City Policy', has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984.

Following a tumultuous first weekend in office - consumed by Trump's criticism of the media's inauguration coverage and his spokesman's angry, inaccurate tirade against journalists - the president was seeking to refocus on the sweeping, yet often vague, promises he made as a candidate. He campaigned as a fierce opponent of multilateral trade agreements, particularly the 12-nation Pacific Rim deal.

The deal was the cornerstone of Obama's attempt to counter China's influence in Asia. The Obama administration laboured for years to finalise TPP. But Obama's own Democratic Party was sceptical of the pact, and the former president never sent it to Congress for ratification.