Trump, TPP & AT&T

November 22, 2016, 12:00 PM UTC
Republican National Convention: Day Four
Donald Trump, TPP, trade, trade deal, trade agreement, jobs, manufacturing, China, Trans-Pacific Partnership, relations
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Now it’s really dead.

Donald Trump released a video yesterday describing actions he will take on his first day in office, and top of the list was withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Japanese Prime Minister Abe, who is at the APEC meetings in Peru, said the trade deal is “meaningless” without U.S. participation. So that’s the end of that.

Having killed the economic centerpiece of President Obama’s China strategy, President-elect Trump now has to come up with his own. Until he does, as Andrew Browne writes in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, other Asian nations will be tempted to follow the example of the Philippines and Malaysia and join the Beijing bandwagon. Not an auspicious first act.

Meanwhile, prospects for an AT&T-Time Warner deal may be looking up. The President-elect blasted the merger during his campaign, saying it was “an example of the power structure I’m fighting.” Given that AT&T and Time Warner don’t compete with each other, the main antitrust objection was likely to come from the FCC, based on concerns that AT&T would give Time Warner videos preferred treatment – or “zero rating” – on its mobile devices, violating the spirit of “net neutrality” rules. But the President-elect yesterday announced a transition team for the FCC that includes two staunch opponents of net neutrality, both of whom have worked for telecom companies. Expect legions of lobbyists to earn their 2017 salaries off of this one.

Finally, the President-elect sent another signal to business leaders who dare to cross him. After JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon indicated he had no interest in serving as Trump’s Treasury Secretary, a campaign source told NBC that the banker “was never under consideration” for the job, and that Trump “doesn’t respect” Dimon anyway. So there.

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