Leaders of the House and Senate say they will not bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade deal that would lower tariffs and set new commerce rules for 12 countries including Japan and Australia, to a vote. President-elect Trump had said he planned to cancel consideration of the deal in his first days in office.
Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday that the deal is a no-go, with McConnell saying the Senate will not bring it to a vote during the lame duck session and Ryan saying the House does not have the votes to pass it. Sen. Chuck Schumer also told labor leaders Thursday the pact would not be ratified, CNN first reported.
“If the next president wants to negotiate a trade agreement, he has the opportunity to do that and to send it up,” McConnell said. “It’s certainly not going to be brought up this year and… I think the President-elect made it pretty clear he was not in favor of the current agreement.”
President Obama had hoped to have the deal approved by Congress immediately following the election. The agreement had been intended to improve relations with companies in the region and reduce China’s economic influence.
But for the trade agreement to pass, members of the House and Senate would have had to act counter to strong opposition from the President-elect, American labor unions, and a public who elected a candidate on an anti-free-trade platform.
Friday, White House officials acknowledged the loss, the Wall Street Journal reported.
It’s a piece of good news for US labor groups, who opposed the deal on the grounds that it will harm American workers’ wages, send jobs overseas, increase the prices of vital prescription drugs by extending patents, and harm the environment by allowing corporations to challenge laws that could affect their profits in a dozen countries.
The US Coalition for TPP, a group of companies and associations representing sectors of the country’s economy including agriculture, manufacturing, and technology, had pushed for the agreement, arguing that reduced tariffs, streamlined customs rules, and increased copyright and patent protections would help American businesses profit and grow.
President-elect Trump also has said he will re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal negotiated between Canada, the US and Mexico, or exit the pact outright, after he takes office.
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