US Congress will not ratify TPP, Schumer tells AFL-CIO

12 November 2016

Senator Charles E Schumer, who will soon be the senate's top Democrat told labour leaders Thursday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal aimed at strengthening ties with key Asian allies, will not be ratified by Congress (See: New Trans-Pacific trade deal could transform global economy)

The incoming senate minority leader's remark, came as good news to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Executive Council, which met Thursday in Washington. According to an aide to the Schumer, who  confirmed the remarks, Schumer relayed statements that Republican congressional leaders had made to him, The Washington Post reported.

Obama's signature global trade deal had hung in the balance for months as both Democrats and Republicans campaigned against unfair trade policies ahead of the 8 November election. According to commentators, Donald Trump's triumph in the US  presidential race had finally sealed its fate.

''There is no way to fix the TPP,'' Trump said in a June economic address. ''We need bilateral trade deals. We do not need to enter into another massive international agreement that ties us up and binds us down.''

The deal had enjoyed little support among congressional Democrats, with only 28 of 188 House Democrats and 13 of 44 Senate Democrats supporting granting Obama the authority to negotiate and finalise a deal last year (Obama faces flak as US, 11 other nations ink Trans-Pacific trade deal).  

Both Trump and Hillary Clinton had opposed the agreement during their campaigns, further weakening the chances that Congress would manage to garner enough support to pass the historic agreement before the end of Obama's presidency. 

Last week, US Trade Representative Michael Froman had expressed optimism that the Obama administration and congressional Republican leaders could clinch a deal and settle a few outstanding issues, including patent protections for high-tech medicines called biologics.

However, after the election, the onus was with the Congress to consider the agreement.

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