On Tuesday, President Obama and the Prime Minister of Singapore met to discuss the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the free trade agreement that many Republicans and Democrats think will hurt American workers.
The free trade agreement involves 12 countries, two of which are the United States and Singapore. The purpose of the deal is to eliminate trade barriers and tariffs, 18,000 in total, streamline standards, and encourage investment between the countries.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership would also encompass 40 percent of the world market.
Opposition to the trade deal has been present since its creation. However tension regarding the deal has increased exponentially in the past few weeks as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have come out against the agreement.
Bernie Sanders also spoke out against the TPP while at the Democratic National Convention. In his speech at the DNC he told the crowd that the Trans-Pacific Partnership could never be ratified and should never be ratified.
Many of those that oppose the deal do so because they believe the free trade agreement will harm American wage workers as companies move jobs abroad. Companies would do this in order to take advantage of the lower wage workers abroad in some of the other 11 countries involved in the deal.
Against all of the opposition, President Obama still believes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will end up working in favor of U.S. interests. He said earlier this morning in a press conference that this deal would “level the playing field for our workers and helps to ensure countries abide by strong labor and environmental rules.”
The deal would allow the United States to continue its deep engagement and leadership in the region as well.
The president also told the room that, “It’s not possible to cut ourselves off given how integrated our economies are… The answer is to make sure that globalization and trade is working for us, not against us.”
Prime Minister Lee of Singapore agreed with Obama’s assessment, and told the press that the president shares his hope in the success of the agreement and that “Congress will ratify TPP soon.”
He also stated that the ratification of this agreement would be a “Litmus test of your [United States] credibility and seriousness of purpose,” in the region.
While it may be the wish of both leaders to have TPP ratified while President Obama is still in office, the Associated Press has said it is highly unlikely.
With the upcoming election Congress is likely to stagnate, preventing the TPP from moving through Congress anytime soon.