From DTN's Washington Insider column:
Congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact is unlikely to occur before President Barack Obama leaves office, with Japanese watchers closely following the matter as it has become an increasingly politically polarizing going into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Other TPP parties are watching U.S. moves on the pact closely, as well as those of Japan, with the two nations together representing 80% of the total size of economies covered by the deal. “Everybody is looking to Japan and the U.S. for ratification,” Pham Quang Vinh, Vietnamese ambassador to the United States, said recently at a TPP-related event in Washington.
Complicating passage of the TPP is opposition to the deal from presidential candidates in both parties, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Noting the political landscape at another recent event, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said “If the president wants to succeed, he ought to take into account the reality of the political situation.”
The TPP is seen as vital to U.S.-Japan relations. “The consequences of U.S. killing the agreement are almost inconceivable,” Ira Shapiro, a former senior official at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. Japan’s government has indicated that it will attempt to get parliamentary approval for the TPP after it passes budgetary bills, in part as a means to encourage the US Congress to follow suit.
Speaking to potential U.S. rejection of the TPP deal, the Japanese minister in charge of TPP issues, Akira Amari said in such a situation Japan would “make a judgment on impacts from the deal as a whole in a comprehensive manner, without dwelling on pluses and minuses over individual issues.”
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