US President-elect Donald Trump looks set to put an end to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal as soon as he begins his administration. This unique deal involves 12 countries and covers 40 per cent of the world’s economy.

Member states include the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. When the deal was signed back in February President Barack Obama treated it as one of his biggest achievements in office. It has still to be ratified of course, leaving the window open for the agreement to be abandoned.

Opponents have characterised the TPP as a secretive deal that favoured big business and other countries at the expense of jobs and national sovereignty. In brief, the idea was to strengthen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth.

It also involves workers’ rights and regulatory coherence along with the special protections that some countries have for named industries. Members also had eyes on fostering a closer relationship on economic policies and regulation. In short, this would be a new single market.

The majority of goods and services traded between the countries are named in the TPP, but not all tariffs, or taxes on imports were going to be removed. and some would take longer than others. In all, some 18,000 tariffs are affected.

The 12 countries involved have a collective population of more than 800 million, almost double that of the European Union’s single market.

“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America first,” said the president-elect. He added: “On trade, we are going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country. “Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”

Grahame Anderson