Washington;Hailing the signing of one of the biggest multinational trade deals in history, President Barack Obama today said the Trans Pacific Partnership deal will bolster US leadership abroad and give it an advantage over other leading economies like China.
The US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was signed by 12 countries in New Zealand, would bolster American leadership abroad and support good jobs at home, Obama said.
“TPP will bolster our leadership abroad and support good jobs here at home,” he said.
“Right now, the rules of global trade too often undermine our values and put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. TPP will change that. It eliminates more than 18,000 taxes that various countries put on Made in America products,” Obama said.
“It promotes a free and open internet and prevents unfair laws that restrict the free flow of data and information. It includes the strongest labour standards and environmental commitments in history – and, unlike in past agreements, these standards are fully enforceable, the President said.
“TPP allows America – and not countries like China – to write the rules of the road in the 21st century, which is especially important in a region as dynamic as the Asia-Pacific,” he said.
Obama asked lawmakers to enact the deal into law as soon as possible so that the American economy can immediately start benefiting from the tens of billions of dollars in new export opportunities.
“We should get TPP done this year and give more American workers the shot at success they deserve and help more American businesses compete and win around the world,” Obama said.
Negotiated over five years, the TPP was signed by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the US and Vietnam. It aims to break down trade and investment barriers between countries comprising about 40 per cent of the global economy.
Meanwhile, business leaders welcomed the deal.
“We welcome the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which presents a tremendous opportunity for American workers, farmers and businesses – and for the entire US economy,” said Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc and Chairman of Business Roundtable.
“We continue to call on Congress and the Administration to quickly address the remaining industry issues to ensure the agreement provides maximum benefit, which will also enable greater likelihood of congressional approval this year,” he said.
“By opening markets and addressing long-standing and newer trade challenges for US businesses, farmers and workers, TPP will support much-needed US economic growth and the millions of American jobs tied to trade,” said Tom Linebarger, chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc.
Meanwhile, l35 leading public health and medical groups asked Congress to support a TPP provision that protects life-saving tobacco control measures from tobacco industry legal attacks under the agreement.
Senator Sherrod Brown said while signing may be a victory for the corporations who negotiated this deal behind closed doors, it is a major loss for American workers.
“TPP must still be approved by Congress. When TPP has its day on the Senate floor, I will do all I can to block this agreement, which will hurt workers in my state and across the country,” he said.
Several lawmakers including Tulsi Gabbard, Rosa DeLauro, Louise Slaughter, and Debbie Dingell joined AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and representatives from MoveOn and the Sierra Club to oppose the TPP.
“The American people have been left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the very beginning and it shows in the resulting agreement. If this deal is enacted, the American people will be left behind as corporations benefit,” Gabbard said.