[Daily News| December 1, 2016 |Inside US Trade]
President-elect Trump’s pick to lead the Commerce Department, Wilbur Ross, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership “a flawed agreement” and dismissed TPP proponents’ and President Obama’s efforts to pass the deal as “a fiction of people’s imagination.”
“[TPP] is not going to happen,” Ross told Fox Business News on Nov. 30, after he was announced as Trump’s intended nominee. “It isn’t a question of pulling out TPP; TPP does not exist. It’s a fiction of people’s imagination at this point.”
President Obama’s push to ratify the deal before leaving office “was especially a figment of his imagination,” Ross added.
The billionaire also defended Trump’s promise to pull out of TPP, contending “it’s hard to say there’s disruption when you don’t do something you weren’t doing anyway.”
When pressed why the deal will not happen under President Trump, Ross cited as an example the deal’s auto rules of origin that would allow content from non-TPP countries to receive the same beneficial treatment provided to countries that are part of the deal.
“It’s a flawed agreement,” Ross said. “It’s fine to say that it’s a multi-country agreement. Theoretically that means you’re effecting big trade barriers against people outside that agreement. But the reality is under TPP the majority of the content of a car could come from outside TPP, say from China or Indonesia or Malaysia or anywhere, yet get total TPP tax treatment. That’s a silly treaty.” (Malaysia, however, is part of TPP.)