President Donald Trump’s formal withdrawal from the 12-nation Pacific trade agreement, announced Monday, creates an American policy vacuum in a fast-growing region that includes China and longtime US allies, according to The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Trump’s move fulfilled a promise to end US participation in the proposed TPP deal, which was intended in part to show Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and other Pacific countries that the US was doubling down on a region strained by China’s increasing economic and military assertiveness. The official order he signed Monday effectively buries an agreement that was backed by the Obama administration and many congressional Republicans, but died in the 2016 election season. China was not part of the TPP agreement, signed last February, and the TPP would have provided more trade competition for Beijing by establishing a regional bloc where most goods and many services could cross borders duty-free.
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