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Obama Administration Giving up on Lame-Duck TPP Vote

by Ken Root

At the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention, every agricultural organization gave their support to approving the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Treaty in the lame duck session.

It is clear that the years of work will be hard to repeat as most other countries are now approving TPP. Still, U.S. politics is unpredictable with both major presidential candidates opposing the treaty.

Some industry spokespersons felt it would have been easier to pass TPP if Hillary Clinton had been elected, even though she publicly opposed it. The consensus was that she would have “winked” at Congress and said: “If you approve it before I become president, I’ll honor it.” With Donald Trump’s vitriolic opposition and the clear majority of support by anti TPP sectors, the bill would have little chance.

Now, as expected, the outgoing Obama administration is throwing in the towel regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. DTN reports the White House will not seek a vote on the agreement during the lame duck session of Congress. Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress told the White House they would not advance the trade deal in the election’s aftermath, and Obama administration officials acknowledged the agreement has no path forward now in the United States. The move comes with little surprise following the election results and remarks by House and Senate leadership earlier this year. The Obama administration had campaigned heavily in support of TPP before the elections in an effort to garner more support. Now, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to withdraw from the trade deal.

Next stop for President Elect Trump: re-negotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement. It has been in effect since 1994 and U.S. trade with Mexico and Canada has jumped five fold. Sources say the president can notify all parties to the agreement that the U.S. will pull out in six months and he can reinstate tariffs immediately.

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