President Donald Trump officially killed off a long-sought trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations on Monday.
The Washington Post reports that the executive order signed by Trump formally ended the country's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The pact, the product of five years of negotiations, was a top goal of the Obama administration in its final years. Trade ministers from participating nations approved the deal early last year, but Congress never took up the agreement amid opposition on both sides of the political aisle.
The TPP would have eliminated thousands of fees and taxes imposed on trade between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, including Canada, Mexico, Japan and Australia. Proponents argued that it would help protect workers and the environment while bolstering U.S. companies that ship goods overseas.
Critics, however, countered that the deal would increase the power of multinational corporations and undercut U.S. workers by placing them in competition with lower-wage nations such as Vietnam and Malaysia.
The agreement was unofficially dead for months, and Trump's executive order was largely seen as a formality. After the pact languished in Congress during the election, both Republican leaders and the White House abandoned efforts to pass it prior to Trump taking office.
But analysts noted that Trump's order heralded a new role for the U.S. in international trade.
Another long-sought pact in Europe could also be finished with Trump in the White House — although he did express hope for a deal with the U.K. as it prepares to leave the European Union — and he vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Trump has also repeatedly threatened companies with a 35 percent "border tax" on their products if they shift jobs overseas, although a tax would require congressional approval while a tariff could spark trade wars and legal challenges.
"What we want is fair trade,” Trump said Monday during a meeting with manufacturers, according to the Post. “And we're gonna treat countries fairly, but they have to treat us fairly.”