U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty asserts that U.S. President Donald Trump “did a great favor” to other signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership by withdrawing the United States from the agreement so that those other countries could ratify it promptly rather than wait years for the U.S. Congress to do so (“Trump said upset by lack of Japan trade deal,” June 14).
This comment is both disingenuous and deeply cynical. Republican control of the U.S. Senate and the party’s historic commitment to free trade mean that the basis of Hagerty’s assertion is almost certainly false.
A more honest representative of his country would have said that Trump simply loathes multilateralism, and that the alleged benefits to other signatories of his withdrawal from the TPP did not enter into his calculations.
A less cynical man would also acknowledge that, in abandoning the TPP, Trump threw away a promising and carefully designed means of constraining China’s abuse of the international economic system, abuse that, Hagerty claims, the Trump administration is now working to end.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.