Volume 25, Number 72 Monday, April 11, 2016 On Washington Trade Daily
A chorus of Administration officials on Friday expressed confidence President Obama can win Congressional approval of the TransPacific Partnership before he leaves office (WTD, 4/8/16). The Administration will be “relentless” in making the case for TPP, White House National Economic Council Director Jeffrey Zients told the US Export-Import Bank’s annual conference. It is critical to get TPP over the finish line this year and President Obama will be doing everything he can to make sure it happens, he said.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker agreed. “The President is all in” when it comes to TPP, she said. He recognizes the importance of the trade deal to the US economy and to the US role in the Asia-Pacific region. The commerce secretary described herself as optimistic that the TPP will be approved, despite strong anti-trade and anti-TPP rhetoric in the Presidential campaigns.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the level of anti-TPP rhetoric makes no sense given that another 10 or so countries are already “knocking on the door” hoping to join because they understand the economic value of the agreement. “We can’t build walls; we can’t be isolationist” and have the kind of economic growth everyone wants, he said.
The USTR is continuing to work with Congressional leaders and the committees of jurisdiction on outstanding issues in preparation for implementing legislation so that “whenever the window opens, we’re ready to move.” Mr. Froman said he is spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill making sure members understand how their constituents will benefits from TPP and how they will be hurt if it does not pass. Lawmakers are concerned about the politics, but Mr. Froman said he believes, TPP will pass because “the economics are absolutely compelling.”