President Barack Obama is taking to the op-ed pages of several local newspapers to make his case for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
On Saturday, the Concord Monitor of New Hampshire published an op-ed under Obama’s byline advocating for the deal and why it stands to benefit New Hampshire. The day before, the Tampa Bay Times published virtually the same op-ed by Obama, except it was tweaked to appeal to Floridians’ concerns, mentioning “Florida orange juice” and citing the number of jobs supported by goods exported by Florida.
“This agreement reflects the realities of a 21st-century economy, where global trade plays an increasingly central role,” Obama wrote in the Concord Monitor. “In fact, trade is a substantial driver of New Hampshire’s economy. Over 20,000 American jobs are currently supported by goods exports from New Hampshire, with 32 percent of Made in New Hampshire goods exports shipped to TPP partners.”
Obama writes that every state could benefit from the trade agreement, adding that “in the coming weeks and months” Congress and the American people will be able to read the deal. He vows that the trade deal will eliminate over 18,000 taxes on products made by American manufacturers while enforcing tough labor standards abroad.
“It also reflects America’s values. I’m the first person who will say that past trade agreements haven’t lived up to their promise. But our future depends on doing trade right,” he writes in the op-eds.
The President has been pushing the TPP since the start of his presidency. The White House said Saturday that more op-eds are planned to be written for other regional newspapers over the next few days, though a spokesman declined to provide further details.
The TPP would knock down tariffs and import quotas, making it cheaper to import and export, and open new Asia-Pacific markets to American companies. Negotiations have been going on for years, and were reached earlier this month between the U.S. and 11 other nations. Next, the deal must be approved by Congress and the 11 other countries’ legislatures before it can take effect.
Obama’s op-eds come one week after Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton voiced her opposition to the deal, aligning herself with progressives who have deep misgivings over its potential impact on American jobs and wages.