The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP in the jargon of the trade negotiators, looks dead. The cosmeticians at the mortuary say so. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are competing to preside over the funeral but US Trade Ambassador Michael Froman says he and his colleagues are hearing encouraging noises from various members of Congress. He thinks that the deal may soon move forward.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Obama’s administration completed in October, forges economic ties with 11 Pacific Rim countries, including Japan, Australia and Vietnam. But the agreement is said by others to be languishing in a place that, if it isn’t a graveyard, looks like the a persuasive facsimile. But trade negotiators have to think positive thoughts.
“They’ve always been politically difficult,” Mr. Froman says of the prospects of the TPP. “We think [now] is the window of opportunity to get it done.” But not only have the two prospective presidential nominees spoken ill of the agreement, Republican support for the deal — critical for it to reach even a vote in Congress this year — has waned significantly.
Earlier this week the Senate leaders of both parties said TPP, despite strenuous efforts by President Obama over the months, won’t get a vote this year. Both Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the minority whip, say the agreement was effectively doomed by the opposition of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton.
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