Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday attacked the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, former U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature trade deal.
President Donald Trump in late January scrapped the TPP by executive order, one of his first moves after taking his seat in the White House.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said the deal would have divided the Asean region.
“I say that I want this TPP to die because it has a character of splitting up the 10 Asean members. Asean consists of ten [countries] but only four [are included in the agreement]. I want it to die when they ask [me] about the future of the TPP under Donald Trump.” he said.
He mocked the TPP agreement, using the alternative acronym PTT, which he said stood for “Political Trade Trump”.
The United States and 11 other nations signed the deal in October 2015, with Brunei, Malasia, Singapore and Vietnam becoming the only members in Asean.
Chheang Vannarith, president of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, said in an email that Trump’s decision to scrap the accord was a “strategic disaster” for the United States.
“The image and role of the US in the region will be adversely affected,” he wrote.
China is expected to launch a new regional trade agreement, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which will include U.S. Allies such as Japan and South Korea, but not the United States.