Kiwi business leaders pin TPP hopes on Obama

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (Getty)
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (Getty)

New Zealand's business community is optimistic the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will pass before a new US President is elected.

Barack Obama backs the deal, but it's becoming obvious the TPP is losing political support in the US. Republican candidate Donald Trump has called it the "death blow for American manufacturing", and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton says it doesn't meet her standards.

But Stephen Jacobi from the NZ International Business Forum still believes it can pass.

"United States trade policy is always subject to these near-death experiences. It is certainly still the plan of the administration, as far as we understand, to do that. It's the wish of the US business community to do it."

Ms Clinton has backed the deal in the past, but changed her mind after reading the final print saying it had "too many loopholes" and wouldn't do enough to improve US wages and create jobs.

This, combined with the fact her running mate Tim Kaine also backed the TPP until very recently, leads Mr Jacobi to believe the TPP is more likely to pass under Ms Clinton's leadership than Mr Trump's - albeit with changes limiting the loss of US jobs.

But he hopes Mr Obama can get it through before either of them take the reins of the world's biggest economy.

"I think it is fair to say that it is still uncertain whether it will pass, and that's going to depend on the tenor of the campaign from here on in," says Mr Jacobi.

"Beyond that, I think it is quite difficult for the TPP under a new administration, whether under Hillary Clinton or under Donald Trump."

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