Obama makes push for TPP deal completion

President Obama made another push on Monday to complete an Asia-Pacific trade deal that is central to the U.S. pivot toward the rapidly growing region. 

Obama urged leaders "to break some of the remaining logjams" and move toward wrapping up work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during a meeting in Beijing where he traveled for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

ADVERTISEMENT

“What we are seeing is momentum building around a Trans-Pacific Partnership that can spur greater economic growth, spur greater jobs growth, set high standards for trade and investment throughout the Asia Pacific," Obama said. 

He called the TPP a "high priority" and said that strengthening U.S. leadership in the region "has been one of my top foreign policy priorities."

"Central to that objective is working with some of our most important trading partners to find ways in which we can facilitate increased growth for all of us, increased investment for all of us, improve jobs prospects for all of us," he said. 

The president is on a weeklong trip to China, Burma and Australia.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman had said recently that a TPP deal would not be wrapped up at the APEC summit. 

But Obama made clear of the global importance of a long-awaited agreement, which has been in discussions for six years. 

"This is the fastest-growing, most populous, most dynamic region in the world economically," he said. 

He complimented the trade teams for "good progress" in recent months to resolve several outstanding issues calling is a chance for a "historic achievement."

"To ensure that TPP is a success, we also have to make sure that all of our people back home understand the benefits for them — that it means more trade, more good jobs, and higher incomes for people throughout the region, including the United States," Obama said.

"That’s the case that I’ll continue to make to Congress and the American people."

Meanwhile, trade leaders released a joint statement Monday saying that they are pleased with the "significant progress" in recent months that “sets the stage" to conclude the TPP talks.

The TPP leaders said they have made concluding the agreement a "top priority."

But doubt remained about the ability of negotiators to ever complete the much-touted deal. 

Lori Wallach, head of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said the positive outlook was "déjà vu with the same sort of vague cheerleading statement about progress and a path to an imminent deal that we have seen after every TPP leaders’ summit since 2011."

"Perhaps before wasting even more taxpayers’ money with further TPP meetings, trade officials should take stock of why TPP is deadlocked and opposition to the sort of deal that has been written to date is growing," she said.

The nations involved in the deal besides the United States are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.