Tags: Barack Obama | Trans-Pacific | Partnership | free | trade

Obama Seeks GOP Help on Pacific Trade Deal

Friday, 26 Dec 2014 05:27 PM

President Barack Obama is sidling up to some strange political bedfellows — Republicans — in his attempt to overcome resistance in his own party to his support for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement.

Opposition to the agreement over concerns of its effect on U.S. jobs, protection of working conditions, controls over U.S. banking, foreign currency manipulation and environmental damage have the progressive wing of Obama's own party questioning whether he is living up to his campaign promises, the Washington Post reports.

Meanwhile, incoming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pledge to support the deal, the Post notes.

In January, it is anticipated that Senate Republicans will attempt to "fast-track" the legislation, meaning the deal, which has been negotiated largely in secret, would be subject to a yes or no vote without alteration by Congress.

The TPP would lower trade tariffs, set up new patent and copyright guidelines, and level the playing field for multinational companies that compete with government-sponsored businesses, the Post reports.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is leading opposition to the bill, stating in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, "We are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership could make it harder for Congress and regulatory agencies to prevent future financial crises."

"With millions of families still struggling to recover from the last financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed, we cannot afford a trade deal that undermines the government's ability to protect the American economy," the Huffington Post reports.

Worrisome to Democrats and other bill opponents is a section of the agreement that would allow "investor-state dispute settlement," in which corporations could challenge government laws and regulations in an international tribunal, in effect giving the tribunal power over the governments of parties to the agreement through the levying of trade sanctions.

Warren's letter notes that this "would expose a broad array of critical American financial regulations to challenge by many additional foreign companies," the Washington Post reports.

Obama expressed opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in his campaign and pledged to renegotiate it, but now cautions opponents of TPP, "Don't fight the last war."

Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO commented, "It's a little bit insulting for him to say anybody who is not in agreement with a particularly flawed trade deal he put on the table wants to maintain the status quo. We promise not to fight the last war if he promises not to put the last version of the trade deal on the table," the Post reported.

Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told the Post, "They [Republicans] don't want to give him [Obama] power, certainly with the EPA. They don't want to give him power on human rights. They don't want to give him power on healthcare. Do they want to give him power on international trade?"

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President Barack Obama is sidling up to some strange political bedfellows — Republicans — in his attempt to overcome resistance in his own party to his support for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement.
Trans-Pacific, Partnership, free, trade
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2014-27-26
Friday, 26 Dec 2014 05:27 PM
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