Obama Reasserts Hope for TPP Passage This Year

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from Wall Street Journal,

President tells young Vietnamese audience the 12-nation pact will be economic jolt for Southeast Asia.

President Barack Obama told a crowd of young Vietnamese entrepreneurs that he hopes to see a new 12-nation trade pact ratified this year.

Mr. Obama, speaking during a question-and-answer session on the last day of his visit to Vietnam, said the Trans-Pacific Partnership will raise labor and environmental standards across Southeast Asia while giving the region an economic jolt.

“The goal is, I think, to try to complete TPP by the end of this year,” Mr. Obama said.

The TPP is a centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s Asia policy of seeking to counter China’s influence by strengthening ties with its neighbors. The trade pact has stalled in Congress, however, and faces significant political hurdles.

The Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, oppose the TPP, and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he would renegotiate it.

U.S. lawmakers are divided over the pact, which isn’t expected to come up for a vote until after the November election, if then. The White House hopes Republican leaders will help pass the TPP in a lame-duck session before Mr. Obama leaves office in January, but it is unclear if they will have the votes—and many Democrats oppose the deal.

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