US commerce secretary says regardless of who's president, we still need to trade

Trump, trade & the TPP

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said Tuesday that the United States needs to trade regardless of who is president and that she looks forward to seeing how that's pursued in President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

"Regardless of administration, there's a recognition that we need to trade with other countries," she told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Trump has consistently bashed the Obama administration-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement, passed during former President Bill Clinton's administration. He blames the deals for economic struggles in pockets of the country and has pledged to cancel the TPP when he enters office.

Pritzker touted the benefits of the TPP, saying it would reduce tariffs for American companies to sell their goods in the Asia-Pacific region.

Pritzker said she pursued trade agreements during her tenure as commerce secretary so her administration can shape how the U.S. trades with other countries. She said she aims for policies that are consistent with American values and wants to provide opportunities for American workers. She said she also looks to protect the environment and to ensure that the country's small- and medium-sized businesses have more access to the rest of the world.

When asked about Trump facing possible conflicts of interest as president, Pritzker said she could only speak from her personal experience. She resigned from the board of Hyatt Hotels, which her family founded in 1957 and continues to own. She also resigned from the board of her family foundation.