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U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement creates an opening for China to lead

Overview

On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced during a speech at the White House that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, fulfilling a campaign pledge to end the agreement that the President argued would harm the U.S. economy.

In relation to China, the decision to withdraw is significant in two respects. First, cooperation between the U.S. and China was a key driver of the negotiations leading to the Paris Agreement and crossing the agreement's threshold of 55% of the world's carbon emissions to become effective. Second, President Trump has framed the decision as part of a larger pivot away from international trade and cooperation, which has left China in the unfamiliar position of a leading champion of international trade.