President-elect Donald Trump's "Contract with the American Voter" outlining sweeping changes for his first months in office has several bipartisan slam dunks, but other proposals are dead on arrival – even in a Congress controlled by his own party.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday told trade unions the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is dead in the new Congress, aligning with a key element of Trump's agenda for the first 100 days.
The news, cheered by labor unions, means Trump's call to scrap the TPP will likely happen.
The deal was negotiated by the Obama administration and initially enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress before it became a hot-button issue in the campaign.
Trump excoriated the agreement, between the United States and several Asian nations, as a job-killer and much of the Republican support for it in Congress evaporated.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told The New York Times there was no chance it would pass the Senate and House Speaker Paul Ryan said he does not plan to bring it up for a vote in his chamber.
Obama’s signature global trade deal had been on life support for months as both Democrats and Republicans campaigned against unfair trade policies ahead of the Nov. 8 election. And Donald Trump’s triumph in the presidential race cemented its fate.
“There is no way to fix the TPP,” Trump said in a June economic address. “We need bilateral trade deals. We do not need to enter into another massive international agreement that ties us up and binds us down.”
Retailers had largely thrown their support behind TPP, as it would have reduced tariffs on many goods that brands source from overseas. President Obama had even used Nike’s Oregon headquarters as backdrop for a speech defending his trade policy.
“On balance, [TPP] was viewed by our industry as a win for retailers and our consumers,” said David French, the National Retail Federation’s senior vice president of government relations, in an interview conducted Thursday prior to the news of Schumer’s statements.
French said he believes that the reduction in tariffs would have been passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices. Tariffs on footwear can be as high as 67.5 percent, according to the NRF, while apparel tariffs can be up to 32 percent.
In September, a coalition of retailers - including Walmart, JCPenney, Gap, Michael Kors and Dick’s Sporting Goods - sent letters to each member of Congress to urge them to support the TPP.
The letter said the agreement would remove $2.8 billion in duties on U.S. imports of clothes, shoes and travel items such as backpacks. They called it “once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce costs and open new markets for U.S. brands and retailers,” which was also support by the U.S. Coalition for TPP organization.
This Was the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Trans-Pacific Partnership Countries - Total goods traded with the United States in 2015, Imports plus exports, not including services, in billions of dollars