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Battle Begins Over Details Of Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal

Asia Headlines Politics Tribune News Service

Battle Begins Over Details Of Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal


By Sean Cockerham and Franco Ordonez, McClatchy Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has revealed its trade pact with Pacific nations, a sweeping and controversial deal igniting fierce opposition from President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement published on Thursday has been a long-time coming, and with a brutal political fight on the horizon it could be longer still before states ever reap its touted benefits. From agriculture to intellectual property, the pact among the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and eight other Pacific nations affects a huge array of commodities and concerns.

It promises new markets and millions of new consumers for, say, cotton from Texas, wine from California and pork from North Carolina as tariffs and trade barriers are lowered for nations around the Pacific Rim. And it offers assurances about jobs, labor protections and the environment.

Yet the agreement has to run a gauntlet of congressional skepticism and protectionist presidential politics going into the 2016 elections, as well as the sluggishness of a political system where personality and deep ideological division have been a legislative roadblock.

“It eliminates 18,000 taxes that various countries put on American goods,” Obama wrote in a blog post on Medium. “When it comes to Asia, one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, the rulebook is up for grabs. And if we don’t pass this agreement — if America doesn’t write those rules — then countries like China will.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership pits Obama against Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who supported the negotiations as secretary of State but has since turned against the deal. Sanders asserts it would expose American workers to competition with low-wage foreign labor, saying in a tweet Thursday that “I will do everything I can to defeat the TPP. We need trade policies in this country that work for working families, not just CEOs.”

The deal puts congressional Republicans, who have supported the negotiations, in the position of voting to give a victory to a president they loathe or going against business allies who want a trade pact.

“I continue to reserve judgment on the path ahead,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a written statement. “But I remain hopeful that our negotiators reached an agreement that the House can support because a successful TPP would mean more good jobs for American workers and greater U.S. influence in the world.”

Obama has to wait 60 days before signing the agreement and sending it to Congress for a review, which would last another month at least. That pushes the contentious issue into a point next year where the presidential campaigns will be in full swing — Republican Donald Trump has joined Democrats Sanders and Clinton in expressing opposition to the Pacific trade deal.

It’s questionable whether Congress would act on the trade deal in such a hothouse election year, particularly with congressional campaigns ramping up. So the issue could be pushed off until the next president is in office. A Senate Republican who will be particularly influential in the debate, Orrin Hatch of Utah, is voicing skepticism about the final deal, a bad sign for Obama given the lack of enthusiasm among members of his own Democratic Party.

(Michael Doyle of the Washington Bureau contributed.)

©2015 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Map of the U.S. trade balance with TPP countries. Tribune News Service 2015



  1. charleo1 November 6, 2015

    Big Corporate badly wants TPP. And in our current, pay to pay, bought out, and handsomely paid for political system, who would we guess is going to win out big in the end? The American workforce will receive but token,( if that,) wage protection, job benefits, job safety, or much setting apart from the fierce competitive winds of Asia and SE Asia’s dirt cheap labor, and bourgeoning Middle Class. Who’s voracious appetites for all manner of goods and services, and near unfathomable numbers dwarfing those of our own economy. Will make such a deal as TPP. unavoidable in the very near future for the U.S. as well as most, if not all of our current trading partners. Tis one of many uncomfortable truths about the present, and future Global Economy, we as a Country, who are not very good at accepting that which we prefer collectively not to believe. Must at some point concede to reality, or pay a heavy price indeed for our fallacies. The facts are, the World as we’ve known it for more than 100 years is drastically changing. The wealth that has been increasingly flowing out of the U.S. to be shared with other parts of the World, will continue. That cannot be stopped, only mitigated. And make no mistake, mitigations will cost the evermore sacrosanct bottom line. It will also mean we will live in an America that no longer holds the title of undisputed super power of the World, either financially, or militarily. Yes, we’re going to need to relearn how to get along in a World in which we will remain a huge player. But also, in a World we no longer hold hegemony. We must learn how to once again use the kind of Marshall Plan, soft power, and hard relentless diplomacy that promotes our ideals of freedom, equality, and respect for our fellow human beings. At least as much as has our recent employment of war, or, threats of war, have managed to diminish them in the eyes of the World over the last several decades. And all this will not be a small endeavor for America. And this is why I worry. America it seems, doesn’t take on big, or hard things anymore. We wring our hands. We complain. We blame the governments we elect. And for it’s part, the gov. caught between the rock of the overwhelming influence of big money donors, and the hard place of voter dissatisfaction, stalemates to dysfunction. While the future, and World move at an unprecedented pace. Waiting on no one, to meet a future they have awaited for so long, and so hungrily embrace.

    1. 1standlastword November 8, 2015

      In this future world economy America will use her military might to hold her economic alliances together and out of harms way. Imagine…our children dying in mass for the preservation of the corporate gangsters’ profits

  2. @HawaiianTater November 7, 2015

    The TPP is a big step down the road of elite global government and making Americans part of the worldwide dirt poor economic slave class. That’s the end game in all of this. A ruling class of the .00001% that lords over the entire world and the 99.9999% of serfs that live under them. I’m really not sure anything can be done to stop them either; at least, not as long as we live in a society of people too stupid to vote for their own self interests. It always infuriates me when people say money doesn’t control elections because they still get to vote. Money decides who you get to vote on. Whoever wins, they win. Hillary is only saying she is opposed to the TPP because she thinks it will get her elected. She is a master at that sort of thing. If she does get elected, she will pass it. I do not doubt that for a second. That’s why it is so important to vote for people like Bernie Sanders when we get the chance because the chance to vote for someone, anyone, who is not corporately owned is a chance that is fading fast.

    There is one simple metric to judge this by to know how badly we’re getting screwed by it. Republicans… ARE SUPPORTING OBAMA… on the TPP. There is one reason and one reason only that they would ever support him on anything and that’s because their corporate masters told them to.

  3. 1standlastword November 7, 2015

    There are two main reasons American has a dissolving middle class: globalism and technology…that’s it!

    All traded deals to date have left American workers worse off and pardon me this is CAN’T be any better

    Really. Pacific rim countries are going to absolutely flood our marketplaces with cheap &hit that we will have to keep buying because NOTHING is designed to last because the world turns on the principle of consumption!!!

    How can this be good for our ecology????

    Obama is schizophrenic by trying to have both ways!

  4. idamag November 13, 2015

    I have been told that TPP gives an immense amount of power to international corporations over our own labor laws. Also a foreign corporation could come to this country and build a manufacturing plant ad bring in foreign workers for 89 cents an hour. This is unfair to our own workers.


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