Blog: Dean BestPost-Trump victory, TPP trade deal appears dead

Dean Best | 15 November 2016

The Obama administration appears to have conceded the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will not be pushed through in the lame-duck session of Congress before Donald Trump is inaugurated in January.

According to The Guardian, The Democratic senator Chuck Schumer, who will be minority leader in the next Congress, is understood to have told union leaders the trade deal would not pass. While Senator Mitch McConnell, the chamber's Republican majority leader, told reporters "no" when asked if Congress would consider the TPP.

It is no surprise the TPP – a free trade deal between the US and 11 Pacific Rim countries – would fall by the wayside following Trump's shock US election victory last week.

During the election campaign, it was at times hard to decipher Trump's stance on a range of policy issues but some of his clearest comments came on trade.

Trump was openly critical of a number of trade deals either signed on set to be ratified by the US. "I strongly oppose TPP as drafted and will work hard to develop trade agreements that are in the national interest and benefit American workers including our farmers," the now President-elect told the US Farm Bureau during the campaign.

The billionaire businessman said he would ditch the TPP - as well as renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and assume a tougher trade stance with China.

The TPP had been broadly welcomed by food makers, with US meat, poultry and dairy sectors by-and-large approving of the increased access to overseas markets.

"In many parts of the world, food and agricultural products still face the legacy of high import barriers. We believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership will allow food to move more freely across borders from places of plenty to places of need, which benefits farmers and consumers around the world. Over time, the most successful countries have been those that embraced international trade. Modern trade agreements like the TPP will continue that trend, while also setting high standards for labour, human rights and sustainability," Cargill chairman and CEO David MacLennan said at the time.

Additional reporting by Katy Askew and Michelle Russell.

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