Obama Administration Gives up on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Donald Trump’s victory in Tuesday’s presidential election has prompted President Barack Obama to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.
According to the Journal, the White House had hoped to push the deal forward in the lame-duck session of Congress, assuming Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had won the election. Her loss has already changed the political landscape:
Just days after Donald Trump surprise victory, U.S. officials said Republican congressional leaders had made clear that they wouldn’t consider the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership in the remainder of Mr. Obama’s term. 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.
The TPP had faced opposition from both left and right. On the left, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and others criticized TPP for the same reasons they have long opposed free trade agreements — namely, they are concerned that unionized American workers would face competition from lower-wage counterparts abroad, and that countries with fewer environmental regulations would attract American industries.
Conservative opposition to the TPP focused on the secret nature of the negotiations, as well as growing mistrust of Obama’s conduct in foreign affairs, where he was seen to have misled the public about key aspects of the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump, long a critic of free trade agreements — though a professed supporter of free trade — slammed TPP frequently on the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton had praised the deal, but flip-flopped on the agreement as it lost ground to Sanders’s campaign.
Obama himself was a late convert to free trade, having opposed earlier agreements in the Senate.