Defense Sec Carter calls on Congress to pass TPP this year

Defense Sec Carter calls on Congress to pass TPP this year
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade agreement is critical to the U.S. strategic rebalance into the Pacific region and urged Congress to pass the deal this year.

Carter said that without the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the United States risks losing wide-ranging advantages in the region. 

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"Without TPP’s economic and strategic benefits the alternative is a regional economy with standards that don’t serve American interests, and one that’s carved up by lopsided, coercively negotiated, lower-standard deals," he said at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on Friday.

“That’s why I’ve said that TPP is as strategically important to the rebalance as an aircraft carrier, and I strongly urge Congress to approve TPP this year,” he said.

Congressional Republican leaders have said that the earliest they would bring up the TPP for a vote on Capitol Hill is during the lame-duck session after the election. 

"The TPP will bind the United States more closely together with 11 other economies, and unlock economic opportunities for the United States and many of its allies and partners,” Carter said.

“And TPP will help reinforce the open and inclusive economic approach that has benefited so many in the Asia-Pacific," he said. 

He said that while there has been economic progress in the region, China’s actions in the South China Sea is raising regional tensions.

“That’s why many of those countries are reaching out anew to the United States to uphold the rules and principles that have allowed the region to thrive,” Carter said.  

“That’s why we support intensified regional diplomacy, not increased tensions, the threat of force, or unilateral changes to the status quo."