President Obama said today that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would cover "40 percent of the global economy." Obama also revealed that eventually the agreement will be made available to the public.
"With this trade agreement, which spans nearly 40 percent of the global economy, we’re going to be able to sell more products, more services, American agriculture, American manufacturing -- we’re going to be able to get those to markets, and American companies that produce here in the United States are not going to be disadvantaged relative to these markets," the president said at the Department of Agriculture today.
"Keep in mind that when there are high barriers in these countries, oftentimes that’s when a lot of American companies feel compelled -- if we want to reach those markets, we’ve got to go produce over there. If the tariffs are down, if the taxes are down on goods made in America, that means U.S. companies that are investing here are able to sell over there without a disadvantage. That’s what American leadership looks like in the 21st century. That’s why this agreement also sets high standards for one of the fastest-growing regions of the world.
"This agreement has the strongest labor standards of any trade agreement in history, including setting fair hours, prohibiting child labor, prohibiting forced labor. It includes the highest environmental standards in history, and prevents overfishing, and makes sure that wildlife trafficking isn’t decimating wildlife that are a world treasure.
"And so unlike past agreements, these standards -- high standards around labor and environment -- are actually enforceable. If countries aren’t abiding by them, then they don’t get the benefits of selling to the United States under the terms of this agreement. And, under this agreement, we, rather than countries like China, are writing the rules for the global economy.
"So I’ve said repeatedly that I would only sign an agreement and present an agreement to Congress if I could be absolutely certain that it was good for American workers and good for American businesses, good for American farmers and good for American ranchers, and good for American manufacturers. We have met that standard in this agreement.
"So this week marks an important step forward, but there’s going to be a long, healthy process of discussion and consultation and debate before this ever comes to an actual vote. And we committed properly that we would post this agreement, every crossed t and dotted i, on a website so that everybody is going to be able to look at it. We are going to be talking not just to members of Congress, but the American public and various constituencies, and governors, and mayors who are represented here about why this is good for their communities.
"And so we’re going to have months before this actually comes up for a vote. People are going to have plenty of time to go over it. I suspect that there will be some misinformation that is propagated around this, as there usually is in these debates. But I’m also confident that the case to be made for why this is good for America is sufficiently strong; that ultimately we’re going to get this done, and it will be an enormous achievement for us to be able to make sure that 40 percent of the world’s economy is operating under rules that don’t hurt us, but instead help make sure that American workers and American businesses are getting a fair shot, and that made in America, those products and services can be sold in places where there’s going to be significant demand."