The United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations agreed Monday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a historic, international deal backed by President Obama that continues to create divisions on both ends of the U.S. political spectrum.
Negotiators took nearly six years to complete the deal, which if ratified is projected to impact 40 percent of the global economy. The deal was reached after a weekend of negotiations in Atlanta.
“We think it helps define the rules of the road for the Asia-Pacific region,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, adding that negotiators had been working on the deal as late as 5 a.m. Monday morning.
The deal is designed to encourage trade between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It would eliminate tariffs that are considered barriers to trade, including more than 18,000 imposed on U.S. exports, according to the White House.
“This partnership levels the playing field for our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers,” Obama said. “It’s an agreement that puts American workers first and will help middle-class families get ahead.”
Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced his approval of the deal.
“It will provide new and meaningful access for American companies, large and small,” Kerry said. “This agreement will level the playing field for American businesses and workers.”
Critics of the plan, including several 2016 presidential candidates, have raised such concerns about the potential for currency manipulation and whether it will result in fewer U.S. jobs.
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