January 27, 2017 | By: Marc L. Busch 

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ran against trade in the 2016 presidential election. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in particular, became the symbol of all of globalization’s ills. But, like President Obama, President Trump will soon discover that trade is an opportunity to favorably define a presidency.

Americans did not vote against trade in November. For all the hype, Politico reports that 70% of those surveyed had never heard or read about TPP. The Chicago Council finds, moreover, that the U.S. electorate understands the trade helps consumers, and has little effect on jobs. Trump can and should move forward on trade.

It starts with TPP. The text is state-of-the-art, but this has not been explained to the American people. Obama pitched TPP as 18,000 tariff cuts and a “pivot” to Asia, but it’s more than that. It’s a legal template, and it matters well beyond trade with the 11 countries looking to join. Indeed, the real payoff to TPP will be had in the form of an even deeper U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), as well as new negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Why?

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