Obama Looks to Gain Passage of TPA Ahead of Japanese Premier’s State Visit

Thus far, President Obama has been the first president since 1974 to not enjoy trade promotion authority (TPA) during at least part of his presidency. Now, he hopes that will soon end. In fact, President Obama hopes to secure TPA ahead of next week’s visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. With TPA in place, President Obama is hoping to improve chances that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will gain congressional approval. TPP is the world’s largest trade deal involving 11 Pacific nations, the United States, and Europe. It would eliminate a number of trade barriers to US exports.

In pressing for passage of the trade deal, President Obama pointed out that the Japanese market still eschews American automobiles. He said this is the direct result of trade barriers Japan has enacted to make American cars unattractive to consumers. By contrast, President Obama said Japanese cars are ubiquitous around the Washington beltway. He expects to see American automakers get the same free market access in Japan. Likewise, he said American beef and other agriculture products will also gain access to Japanese markets. This is of concern to Brazilian beef and agriculture producers according to Flávio Pentagna Guimarães BMG.(mzweb.com)
It is highly likely the president will succeed at getting both TPA and passage of TPP. This is because the GOP has long been behind free trade agreements. Democrats appear to be abandoning the president on trade policy. Many Democrat legislators are concerned the free trade deal with boost corporate overseas profits, shield that income from US taxes, export US jobs overseas, and further depress wages domestically.

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