Trans-Pacific Partnership deal reached; now needs Congressional approval

The Washington Fair Trade Coalition and other labor groups demonstrated outside a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry at the Boeing plant in Renton. (Photo by Venice Buhain.)
The Washington Fair Trade Coalition and other labor groups protested the Trans-Pacific Partnership outside a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry at the Boeing plant in Renton earlier this year. (Photo by Venice Buhain.)

Twelve Pacific Rim nations came to an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, a treaty that would remove some tariffs and local regulations over imports and has been criticized in the U.S. from multiple angles.

President Barack Obama, who pushed for the deal and got “fast-track authority” during the long negotiations, now needs to seek approval for the deal from Congress, which can vote the deal up or down, but cannot amend it.

According to the New York Times, Obama may face new opposition from Republicans who had previously approved the fast-track authority because the U.S. made concessions affecting the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both released statements criticizing the deal, the Times added.

The trade deal, also known as TPP, between 12 Pacific Rim nations has been met with skepticism in the Northwest — notably from the city of Seattle and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee.

Critics have expressed concerns that TPP would put too much power in the hands of business interests, possibly compromising local and federal laws including those concerning minimum wage and the environment. However, negotiators say that the agreement enforces higher standards on labor conditions and wildlife trafficking, according to the New York Times.

Nations that are part of the deal along with the United States are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Previous coverage:

John Kerry makes case for Trans-Pacific Partnership at Boeing visit

Seattle votes to oppose fast-track of Trans-Pacific Partnership

Seattle mulls stance against fast track for Trans-Pacific Partnership