Obama 'cautiously optimistic' about TPP

  • 23/02/2016
US President Barack Obama (Reuters)
US President Barack Obama (Reuters)

President Barack Obama says he is "cautiously optimistic" that the US Congress will support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact.

Speaking to state governors at the White House on Monday (local time), Obama said he would have to rely on votes from pro-trade Democrats and Republicans since labour leaders opposed the deal.

Obama noted that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan had largely been supportive of the pact.

Passing the deal would be a legacy-defining achievement during Obama's final year in office.

The agreement was signed by all 12 member countries amid demonstrations in Auckland earlier this month. Protesters were criticising the secretive nature of the negotiations and expressing concerns over the effect the deal would have on New Zealand's drug buying agency Pharmac and the ability of corporations to sue the Government if laws are passed that infringe on their intellectual property rights.

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand needs to be included in the deal and that it will add $2.7 billion to our economy by 2030, a figure roughly equal to 1 percent of GDP.

The Government also estimates the country's exporters will pay nearly $260 million less in tariffs if the deal goes through.

Despite the deal being inked, it now needs to be ratified by the countries involved, requiring at least six countries representing 85 percent of the total GDP of the 12 countries to ratify it, if it is to come into effect.

With the United States and Japan representing around 80 percent of the combined GDP between them, essentially both countries need to ratify the deal for it to go ahead.

The agreement includes the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Newshub. / Reuters