Cardona urges EU to seize the moment after Trump withdraws from Pacific trade deal

Malta's economy minister Chris Cardona urges EU to take advantage of US withdrawal from TPP by negotiating its own trade deals with Pacific Rim countries 

Economy minister Chris Cardona
Economy minister Chris Cardona

Economy minister Chris Cardona has urged the EU to seize the moment presented by Donald Trump’s order to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The TPP is clearly not dead, and Australia and New Zealand have already expressed their views that it could carry on as is but without the United States,” he said. “Trump’s recent executive orders are a game-changer, and it could prove to be an opportunity for the EU to further its negotiations with third countries.”

Cardona was delivering a presentation to the European Parliament’s international trade committee during which he presented Malta’s trade priorities during its presidency of the European Council.

The proposed TPP was to link 12 nations – the USA, Australia, Japan, Canada, Chile, Brunei, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam - in a complex web of trade rules to create an economic bulwark against a rising China. It was finalized and signed last year after several months of negotiations, but was never ratified. The trade deal was championed by former US President Barack Obama, but Trump repeatedly warned that it would threaten American jobs, with manufacturing companies relocating to low-wage countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.

Now, Cardona has urged the EU to take advantage of the current vacuum by seeking trade deals with TPP countries like Japan and Mexico.

“Japan has been negotiating on the TPP for several years, so can you imagine how many legislative amendments they had to carry out in preparation of it? Are they now going to have to reverse it?

“Mexico has suffered doubly from Trump’s executive orders – both from his withdrawal from TPP and his renegotiation of NAFTA. This could lead to a more generous approach from the EU’s side.” 

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