Obama administration acknowledges Pacific trade deal is dead

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) walks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX2T3FH

President-elect Donald Trump walks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The Obama administration has given up on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with 11 nations in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Wall Street Journal.

President-elect Donald Trump has fervently denounced the trade deal, labeling it a “disaster.”

“It’s a deal that’s designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone,” Trump said in November last year. China is not one of the 11 countries who signed on to the pact.

President Obama had tried to push the legislation forward for months, but both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will become the minority leader in January, have said the legislation will not be voted on during the lame-duck session. Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan said that it wouldn’t receive enough votes to pass in the House, according to CNN.

Once an issue both Democrats and Republicans backed, free trade has become increasingly controversial on both sides of the aisle.

A wave of anti-trade sentiment has overcome the two parties in the past year. Sen. Bernie Sanders had made it a key issue of his presidential campaign, as had Donald Trump. Midway through her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton reversed course and said she did not support the 12-nation deal.

Labor unions, like the AFL-CIO, oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as do many blue-collar workers who have seen their manufacturing jobs disappear to trade and globalization in the wake of North American Trade Agreement. Technological advances and automation also contributed to these jobs losses.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was supposed to assert American dominance in the region, where China has increasing military and economic influence and is pursuing its own regional trade deal. The partnership would have accounted for nearly 40 percent of global output.

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