Barack Obama may be approaching the final days of his second term, but he is certainly not resting on his laurels until reckoning comes. As he approaches the end of a memorable era—for good and bad reasons—in American history, he continues to express an optimistic view of his trade pact among the nations in the Pacific Rim nations. Of course, Obama waits for Congress to approve the new deal.
Now, both sides—the Democrats and the Republicans—have soured on what is called the “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Overseas trade continues to complicate domestic trade in the United States, but Obama hopes that his pressure, despite great political opposition—will move the deal forward.
In a recent interview with CNN Obama acknowledged that the “politics of trade” are—and always have been—complicated. And he now notes what he calls a “vocal” segment of the Democratic Party—largely associated with the brash popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders—and the influence of labor union opposition, and what has emerged as the “populist anti-trade sentiment” among Trump supporters, in the Republican party.
Still, Obama believes in the major benefits that could be afforded the Unite States, through this deal. As a matter of fact, he sees the potential economic benefit as a key element for US effort to counteract China’s improving economic conditions and their influence over East Asia and the whole of the Pacific region.
Obama goes on to say, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a historic agreement, cobbled together among a very diverse set of countries, and the basic argument is simple: This is going to be the world’s largest market. And if we’re not setting the rules out there, somebody else is.”
But a recent Pew Research Center survey estimates that as many as 39 percent of registered voters view the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a bad thing. That might sound promising, but only 37 percent of voters feel that it could be beneficial.
Regardless of how the voters feel, though, many have said that the TPP could have been—or, perhaps, should have been—the capstone to Obama’s monumental second and final term. And as the year comes to a close and we move towards the next presidency, it is yet unclear if and how the TPP will, in fact, affect how we regard Obama’s presidency as a whole.