Obama Still Has Shot at Passing TPP

Dan General, Industry News Release, Trade

Fortune Magazine reported last week that President Barack Obama still has a shot at passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. It remains to be a longshot, however, as Congressional leaders claim the agreement does not have enough support to pass Congress. New research suggests Republicans in Congress are turning sour on trade agreements, while some Rust Belt Democrats have indicated they may support Donald Trump in the presidential election because Hillary Clinton has previously supported TPP and NAFTA. International trade lawyer Alan Wolff writes that the majority of Americans support free trade, citing a Pew Research Center survey taken in March. The survey found 51 percent of Americans say free trade agreements are good, versus 39 percent against them. Wolff charges Congress with not representing the will of the majority of citizens who approve of TPP. President Obama is expected to send the agreement to Congress following the November elections. However, time in the lame-duck session is limited. Lame-duck sessions typically last about a month.

From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.

From: Fortune Magazine

Commentary by Alan Wm. Wolff, an international trade lawyer with Dentons LLP, in Washington, DC, and a former senior negotiator in Republican and Democratic presidential administrations.

Congress is the wild card.

Given that the two contenders for the U.S. presidency are strongly against free trade agreements, you would think that they are reflecting the views of the American people. They are not. In a Pew Research Center survey taken in March, 51% of Americans said that free trade agreements have been a good thing, versus 39% against them.

Given the public’s support for free trade, it’s hard to see why the candidates would oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a landmark deal involving the U.S. and 11 other nations across the Pacific Rim. President Barack Obama has been an avid supporter of the deal; in the coming months, he has an opportunity to implement the agreement that the U.S. signed last year by leveraging his lame-duck period in office—that is, in the weeks just before the newly elected president takes over.

Admittedly, there is not a lot of time. The longest lame-duck session lasted 58 days in 1941, and the country going to war had a lot to do with its duration. Lame-duck sessions are typically half that amount of time, about a month. And during that short period, the U.S. Congress will have other key priorities, such as spending bills, to consider. So what can be done?

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