President Donald J Trump signed an executive order Monday announcing that the US would withdraw from negotiating the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership deal). During his campaign, Mr Trump had described the deal in the following words, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country.”

While his choice of words is in extremely poor taste, American workers have suffered years of falling wages and the export of their industries to other countries, devastating the communities they sustained and increasing unemployment. Both Republicans and the ruling Democrats are responsible for this fiasco and all Trump has done is exploit the working class’ anger and resentment to his benefit.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, advocated highly by the Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton who pushed for this as Secretary of State, was essentially an attempt to create a single market for the US and 11 countries that border the Pacific Ocean, including Canada, Mexico, and Chile. The idea was to allow goods to flow more freely and cheaply between all partners, who together represented 40% of global trading. The deal was supposed to increase US exports by $123 billion and create 650,000 jobs, contrary to what Mr Trump believes. Progressives like Bernie Sanders vehemently opposed it as it would make labour rights unions toothless (unions the Republican party does not support domestically), lead to higher drug prices and shift wealth and power to large corporations (something the Republicans actually support).

Specifically, the TPP’s principle goal was to maintain US trade dominance in Asia, bringing the various trading partners under America’s wing as a way to ward off China’s growing economic influence. While it is moot whether this deal would have created more jobs for the middle classes, there is no denying the fact that it would have made the US a lot of money and allowed them to dominate the East Asian market. This would cut out smaller countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, who would not be part of the free market and would not be able compete.

The abolishing of this deal could mean an opportunity for China to make attractive agreements with the Pacific Rim countries to trade with them instead. China is already advocating for a 16-nation pact being led by Southeast Asian nations that lacks some of the environmental and labour protections Obama negotiated into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and does not currently include the US. This would make Pakistan a trade hub due to the connectivity provided by the CPEC and allow Pakistan to continue to be a player in the Asian economy.