Obama urges Congress to approve TPP

Washington, November 14

President Barack Obama on Friday urged the US Congress to quickly approve a 12-nation Pacific trade pact early in 2016, telling reporters the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was essential to the American economy as well as national security.

Obama last week gave Congress 90 days’ notice that he would sign the TPP deal, which seeks to remove trade barriers and set common standards in 40 per cent of the world economy.

Congress must approve the pact before it can take effect, but US lawmakers have been lukewarm toward the deal. “We strongly believe that on a bipartisan basis, we should get this done,” Obama told reporters after meeting with a group of senior diplomats and defence experts.

“As soon as the 90-day review period is completed and the new session of Congress begins after the Christmas break, I am hoping that leaders in both parties and both chambers move promptly to get it done,” Obama said.

Obama is due to embark today on a nine-day trip that will take him to Asia where the TPP will be a focus. Obama will also attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila on November 18 and 19.

He gathered a who’s who of Republican and Democratic national security luminaries at the White House on Friday to bolster his case, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell; former defence secretary Bill Cohen; and retired military brass Mike Mullen and James Jones. They were in agreement that a failed deal would leave a ‘void’ that would be filled by China and other competitors.