As reported by The Wall Street Journal late last week, the Obama Administration has decided to abandon the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“The White House had lobbied hard for months in the hope of moving forward on the pact if the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, had won,” reports the WSJ.
But Trump’s victory has already changed the political landscape, and congressional leaders from both parties have made it very clear that they will not consider the TPP during the remainder of Obama’s term.
“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,” said House Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX).
The 12-nation trade agreement has faced serious opposition from the Left and the Right, with Hillary Clinton flip flopping her stance mid-campaign. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both opposed the deal.
Primary concerns include:
• General lack of transparency
• Unionized workers would face competition from lower-wage workers in other countries
• Nations with fewer environmental rules would attract American industry
• ISDS provision would allow foreign corporations to bypass US laws
• New monopoly rights for pharmaceutical companies would affect healthcare
The failure to pass what would have been the biggest trade agreement in more than a decade is a bitter defeat for Obama, whose zealous support for freer trade split the Democratic Party and threw a wrench into Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
President Obama is scheduled to attend a summit later this month, where he will meet with Pacific leaders in Peru. “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,” said Wally Adeyemo, a security adviser for international economic affairs.
Chinese President Xi Jinping hopes to establish a free-trade area in the Asia-Pacific, and China plans to push for a lower-standard Pacific trade agreement (that likely will not include the US) at the summit.
Editor’s note: I haven’t read the TPP and can’t tell you what provisions might be bad for America. However given the track record of the Obama Administration, I’m certainly in favor of scrapping it and starting over with competent negotiators.