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Pritzker: The US leaving the TPP would go down in history as a mistake

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker thinks that the U.S. leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership will go down in history as a mistake.

“I think TPP is really important and it makes me sad that the United States is not a part of it,” Pritzker told Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer and Jen Rogers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

That said, she’s encouraged to see 11 countries proceeding with TPP, which she notes can really enhance trade. What’s more, this potentially leaves the door open for America to get back in TPP.

In the meantime, she fears many American businesses will be left out of accessing consumers in Asia for the time being.

“And what’s sad about it for the United States is there’s still very high tariffs, and market access is a serious problem in many Asian countries for American companies and we haven’t fixed that or addressed that.”

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker speaks with Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer and Jen Rogers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

While in Davos, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that President Trump prefers bilateral relationships over multilateral trade relationships.

“Well, I don’t think it’s either or. We can have both,” Pritzker said. “And I think the benefit of being part of TPP is its access to Asia with a group of countries that really want us present there. They want us to have a bigger footprint in the Asia Pacific region in order to provide alternatives for trade with them to China. And so it’s a big opportunity that’s been missed. I think it will go down in history as one of the mistakes we’ve made. But what’s wonderful about this administration is they could change their mind.”

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.