Published: Sun, November 13, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Obama calls off lobby for TPP treaty passage

Obama calls off lobby for TPP treaty passage

In the face of opposition from Trump and congressional Republicans, Obama on November 11 officially abandoned efforts to enact his 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which as written excludes China and Russian Federation.

The administration gave up on the deal Friday as leaders in Congress reportedly said it wouldn't pass after the results of the 2016 presidential election - despite having overwhelming support from Republicans a little over a year ago.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama and McConnell spoke after the election about the agenda of the lame-duck session. Charles Schumer, D-New York, who is expected to be the incoming Senate minority leader, came as good news to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, which met Thursday in Washington.

The deal, created to regulate trade between Australia, the U.S., New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei and Chile, was once hailed as the most progressive trade deal in history.

The TPP agreement, negotiated for more than five years and signed in October 2015, was aimed at reducing trade barriers erected by some of the fastest growing economies in Asia and boosting ties with USA allies in the region in the face of China's rising influence.

"In terms of the TPP agreement itself, Leader McConnell has spoken to that and it's something that he's going to work with the President-elect to figure out where they go in terms of trade agreements in the future", Mr Adeyemo said.

As for the TPP, though it was signed by President Barack Obama, it must still be ratified by Congress, something that has not yet happened and which may make withdrawal easier.

The TPP involves Australia, the United States, and 10 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region and South America.

In the House, Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), the chairman of the House committee that oversees trade, said in a statement Wednesday that "this important agreement is not ready to be considered during the lame duck and will remain on hold until President Trump decides the path forward".

It's a piece of good news for U.S. labor groups, who opposed the deal on the grounds that it will harm American workers' wages, send jobs overseas, increase the prices of vital prescription drugs by extending patents, and harm the environment by allowing corporations to challenge laws that could affect their profits in a dozen countries.

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