Obama ‘confident’ TPP will be ratified in US despite opposition

Hanoi, May 24 (IANS) Even though ratification of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has stalled in the US, President Barack Obama said he’s still “confident” the trade deal will earn the support of Congress.

“I remain confident we are going to get it done, and the reason I’m confident is because it is the right thing to do. It’s good for the country, it’s good for America, it’s good for the region, it’s good for the world,” Obama was quoted by RT online during a joint press conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi.

Leaders signed the 12-nation TPP, which includes the US and Vietnam as members, back in February, but it still requires ratification from each country’s lawmakers before it can go into effect.

That process has stumbled, though, as public outcry against international trade deals increases. In the US in particular, all three major-party presidential candidates have come out against the deal.

In Vietnam, Obama reiterated why he believes the TPP was so important, noting that the Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing part of the world and represents a huge market for the US. He said the TPP would eliminate some 18,000 tariffs that have been placed on American goods sold in Asia.

“I have not yet seen a credible argument that once we get TPP in place we are going to be worse off,” he said. “We are demonstrably better off. American workers and American businesses are better off if we get this deal passed.”

However, opponents have railed against the TPP from the outset, criticizing the secret, years-long negotiations and arguing that it will primarily benefit large corporations, not workers. Protesters have argued that many of the regulations that would be stripped away would negatively affect laborers and the environment.

“It would make it easier to offshore American jobs, and it would push down their wages by putting them in direct competition with workers in Vietnam who don’t make but 65 cents an hour,” Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization, told RT.

–IANS

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