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Obama administration suspends Asian free-trade deal vote effort

  • Published at 02:35 pm November 12th, 2016
Obama administration suspends Asian free-trade deal vote effort
Now the approval for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) lies in the hands of Donald Trump's presidency and the republican lawmakers. The TPP is a free-trade agreement which engages 12 Pacific Rim nations and the finalised proposal was signed on February 4, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, which included a negotiation of more than five years. It was designed to cover the trade and finance of countries accounting for 40% of world GDP. However, Trump's stunning election victory that sends him to the White House in January is now retaining republican majorities in congress hindering the TPP schemes. Administration officials also said Obama would try to explain the situation to eleven leaders of the other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact next week when he attends a regional summit in Peru. "We have worked closely with Congress to resolve outstanding issues and are ready to move forward, but this is a legislative process and it's up to congressional leaders as to whether and when this moves forward," USTR spokesman Matt McAlvanah said in a statement. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not take up TPP in the weeks before Trump's inauguration and said its fate was now up to Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan had earlier said he would not proceed with a “lame-duck” vote. Trump opposed the TPP during his campaign, calling it a "disaster" and "a rape of our country" that would send more jobs overseas. His anti-free-trade message and pledges to stem the tide of imported goods from China and Mexico won him massive support among blue-collar workers in the industrial heartland states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, helping to swing the election his way. Trump has said he would scrap TPP, renegotiate the 22-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement and adopt a much tougher trade stance with China. White House Deputy National Security Advisor Wally Adeyemo told reporters on Friday that Obama will tell TPP member countries at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that the United States will remain engaged in Asia, and that it recognizes the benefits of trade and such deals still make sense. Adeyemo said: "In terms of the TPP agreement itself, Leader McConnell has spoken to that and it's something that he's going to work with the President-elect to figure out where they go in terms of trade agreements in the future.” But they would continue to think that these types of deals make sense, simply because countries like China are not going to stop working on regional agreements, he added.