The U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal won't just leave the U.S. on the outside looking in, it will devastate American agriculture, a former U.S. Trade Representative told CNBC.
"We're now going to be competing against other countries who are going to reduce over 18,000 tariffs. Those tariffs will now stay in place for the U.S.," Ron Kirk, who was the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from 2009-2013, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday. "This is going to be devastating for American farmers and ranchers and businesses."
Newly inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday formally pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which would have created a 12-country free-trade bloc. The TPP, which was negotiated during President Barack Obama's term in office, hadn't yet been voted on or ratified by Congress.
Kirk, who is currently senior of counsel at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said it was difficult to understand the rationale of pulling out of TPP.
"It's the equivalent of building the largest duty-free shopping zone in the world and then declaring we don't want to participate," he said, noting that the deal was "the most modern state-of-the-art trade agreement," including enhanced intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting protection.