(CNN) — President Donald Trump on Monday will start to unravel the behemoth trade deal he inherited from his predecessor, as he signed an executive action to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
That executive action sends signals to Democrats and leaders in foreign capitals around the world that Trump’s rhetoric on trade during the campaign is turning into action. Trump vowed during the campaign to withdraw the US from the Pacific trade deal, commonly known as TPP, which he argued was harmful to American workers and manufacturing.
The TPP was negotiated under former President Barack Obama, but never ratified by Congress, so withdrawing from it will not have an immediate, real effect on US economic policies, although it does signal a new and very different US outlook on trade under Trump.
The other executive actions signed Monday included reinstating the Mexico City abortion rules and instituting a hiring freeze for federal agencies.
Trump’s action comes as the President is looking to change the conversation after a rocky first weekend at the White House, during which, he and his officials feuded with the press and his presidency was greeted with massive protests in the nation’s capital and in large cities across the US.
The executive action will be just one part of the Trump administration’s efforts to focus attention on its plans to radically reshape US trade policies, making good on a central premise of Trump’s campaign and its economic nationalist underbelly.
Trump on Monday will also meet with union leaders and blue-collar workers several hours after signing the executive action, as well as separate meetings with business leaders.
As the Republican nominee, Trump railed against free trade agreements he argued were lopsided against the US and vowed to implement more protectionist trade policies as president, rallying voters to the polls with his “America First” slogan.
Trump has also threatened to impose trade tariffs as a way to revive American manufacturing and compel US companies not to take their manufacturing operations abroad.