It’s Time for Obama To Celebrate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

It’s been eight years since the first political decision, which goes all the way back to the Bush presidency. Five whole years of negotiations, then a final negotiation in Atlanta lasting five days and five nights and resulting in the signature of the pact, which was rescheduled from Friday to Saturday and then to Sunday, and finally coming to a conclusion on Monday at dawn. In the end, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was ratified by the United States and 11 other countries on the two sides of the Pacific: from Japan to Canada and from Australia to Vietnam.

For Obama, it is a day to celebrate because this was one of the main objectives of his presidency. In fact, the agreement should give more economic weight to his policy of reinforcing ties with American allies in the Far East and also containing China (which didn’t sign the TPP). It is the so-called “pivot to Asia,” a displacement of the epicenter of American interests toward this area in the world, which may represent an important part of the political legacy of the Democratic president. The European Union is having a day of reflection: the TTIP, Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which was supposed to be the counterpart of the TPP (and counterbalance it), has not been going anywhere for months because of the difficulty in bridging the gap between Europe and the United States on various issues. But now that the agreement that cancels 18,000 duties and tariff barriers over an area encompassing 40 percent of world trade is on its way, the Old Continent could lag even more behind.

But the story of the partnership doesn’t end with yesterday’s (Oct. 6) signature by the ministers of the 12 countries: Now the debate rests with the members of the various parliaments, and in some cases — Japan, Vietnam and above all the United States — the opposition is very strong. In Washington, D.C., Obama hopes to win thanks to an unusual alliance with the Republicans. But most people in his party, including Hillary, are against it, as well as unions and some big industrial corporations like Ford and Donald Trump, who, while surfing on a populist wave, is keeping a distance from his own party and calling the TPP a terrible agreement.

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