U.S. President-elect Donald Trump vowed he will pull out of a controversial Pacific Rim trade deal on his first day in office.
The announcement, made in a video message released November 21, was the most unambiguous statement of his intention to pull out of the 12-nation trade pact that became a lightning-rod issue in the U.S. election campaign this year.
Trump made the vow about the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a video posted to YouTube in which he outlined priorities for his first 100 days following his January 20 swearing-in.
"I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country," Trump said of the deal, which the United States has not yet ratified. "Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores."
Outgoing President Barack Obama had pushed hard to ratify the pact, which would lower tarrifs, remove trade barriers, and other measures across 12 countries.
But the pact became a hot-button issue on the campaign trail, with Trump criticizing his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for backing it and then reversing herself.
Trump's populist message resonated in many U.S. industrial regions, who have seen huge manufacturing job losses blamed on another major trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump's spurning of the deal could have political repercussions in other nations.
Speaking during an official visit to Argentina, Japan's prime minister deal would be "meaningless" without U.S. participation.
He also said the pact couldn't be renegotiated. "This would disturb the fundamental balance of benefits."
Abe last week became the first foreign leader to meet Trump since his stunning election earlier this month.
Concern is growing in Japan that Trump might also follow through on his campaign promise to demand that Tokyo pay more for the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan under a security treaty.
Japan pays about $2 billion a year, about half of the nonpersonnel costs of stationing the U.S. troops,
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, DPA