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Trump withdraws U.S. from TPP, raps Japan, China over trade

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday withdrew his country from
the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement also involving
Japan and 10 other Pacific countries as China increases its clout in
the Asia-Pacific region.

Separately, the new Republican president accused Japan and China
of engaging in trade practices that he said are "not fair" to
American companies.

In signing an executive order pulling the United States out of
the TPP, a high-standard trade deal that does not include Beijing,
Trump said, "We've been talking about this for a long time. Great
thing for the American worker."

Speaking at a news briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean
Spicer indicated the Trump administration will pursue bilateral trade
deals that would benefit American workers and industry, rather than
multilateral ones such as the TPP, which Trump has called a
job-killing "disaster."

In a meeting with business leaders earlier Monday, Trump
stressed he wants "fair trade," claiming countries such as Japan
"charge a lot of tax" on U.S. products.

"If they're going to charge tax to our countries -- if as an
example, we sell a car into Japan and they do things to us that make
it impossible to sell cars in Japan...It's not fair," he said.

Trump also singled out China, saying, "If you want to take a
plant or you want to do something, you want to sell something into
China and other countries, it's very, very hard."

"In some cases, it's impossible," he said. "They won't even take
your product."

During the presidential campaign and the transition period,
Trump, who was sworn in Friday, dismissed the TPP, saying that if
implemented, it would cost U.S. jobs and harm American manufacturing.

Former President Barack Obama promoted the TPP as a centerpiece
for his policy of strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region in
response to the rise of China.

Referring to Trump's order on the TPP, Sen. John McCain,
chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, criticized it as
"a serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America's
economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region."

"This decision will forfeit the opportunity to promote American
exports, reduce trade barriers, open new markets, and protect
American invention and innovation," the Republican heavyweight said
in a statement.

"It will create an opening for China to rewrite the economic
rules of the road at the expense of American workers," he said. "And
it will send a troubling signal of American disengagement in the
Asia-Pacific region at a time we can least afford it." (Jan. 23)