March 8, 2018

Just before President Trump is set to sign orders on protective tariffs for steel and aluminum imports, 11 U.S. allies signaled their commitment to free trade by signing the Trans Pacific-Partnership trade deal. The U.S. was not among the signatories, having backed out of negotiations last January.

The formulation of the partnership, which is made up of countries that together comprise more than 13 percent of the global economy, was initially spearheaded by the U.S. as a means to counter China's surging economic power. But Trump, following through on one of his most consistent campaign promises, killed the deal soon after entering the White House in order to "protect American workers." Most analysts predicted that the U.S.'s exit from the agreement would kill the deal, but the remaining countries — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — rallied to save it.

The deal, which is now formally known as The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), doesn't pack quite the same punch without the support of the U.S., but it will still be one of the world's three largest trade agreements. The New York Times reported that an analysis conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates that the CPTPP will lead to $147 billion in additional global income — and possibly more, if other nations such as Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand eventually join.

The U.S. has not completely written off the idea of re-entering into the agreement in the future, but the Trump administration's recent protectionist rhetoric will seemingly make that more challenging. Read more about the CPTPP at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell