Washington, Oct 6: US President Barack Obama faces a growing political opposition including those from his party colleagues, trade and labour unions and businesses on what he described as a "historic" 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that links 40 per cent of the global economy.
"What I have seen so far, the TPP agreement will benefit Wall Street banks and multinational corporations on the backs of hard-working Americans, and it will increase existing threats to our environment," Obama's colleague Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said in a statement expressing her opposition.
"This deal, which will affect 40 per cent of our global economy, will be even more unenforceable and more disastrous for American jobs and our economy than NAFTA has already proven to be," she said.
"We are disappointed that our negotiators rushed to conclude the TPP in Atlanta, given all the concerns that have been raised by American stakeholders and members of Congress," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
He urged the Obama Administration to immediately release the text, and asked legislators to exercise great caution in evaluating the TPP.
In a statement, Coalition for a Prosperous America said there is nothing novel about this TPP agreement. It does not embrace the principles that livestock producers, manufacturers and workers have suggested.
"Our cattle industry witnessed the damage ill-conceived free trade agreements have wrought upon the US sheep industry, shrinking it by more than half and relegating it to a residual supplier of lamb and mutton in our own domestic market," R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said in a statement.
National Nurses United urged Congress members to reject the agreement warning there remains inadequate guarantees to assure patients and consumers will not be harmed by pharmaceutical price gouging. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders said, "Wall Street and other big corporations have won again" in TPP.
"It is time for the rest of us to stop letting multinational corporations rig the system to pad their profits at our expense," he said.
However, Senator John McCain said TPP offers a historic opportunity to reduce trade barriers, open new markets, promote made-in-America exports, and keep American companies competitive in one of the most economically vibrant and fastest-growing regions in the world.
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, a nonpartisan think-tank based in Geneva, said trade in agricultural products among the TPP countries represents USD 311 billion and the deal is expected to boost agricultural trade among countries within the TPP area.
Countries outside the bloc, however, could face difficulties if new trade norms and market access concessions affect their trade with TPP countries, it said.
Nancy McLernon, president and CEO of the Organization for International Investment (OFII), said given that nearly 20 per cent of Americas foreign direct investment flows from TPP countries, there is no doubt that the TPP announcement is an important economic milestone.