The New York Times
The limits of President Obama’s ability to reassure the world about America’s future role in the international sphere was apparent at the summit meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders in Lima, Peru, on Sunday. There is no way to ease the concerns of those leaders about America’s retreat from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, a casualty of anti-globalization fervor, American politics and, in particular, the objections of President-elect Donald Trump, who has called it a “disaster.”
The presidential campaign focused on whether the deal, which would lower import duties and quotas, would benefit American workers. Mr. Trump said it would not and argued instead for a protectionist approach, including big tariffs that could end up inciting a trade war.
On Sunday, Mr. Obama again made the case that the trade agreement would be “a plus for America’s economy, for American jobs,” and failure to sign on to it “undermines our position across the region.” The Pacific Rim leaders urged the signatories to move ahead with the deal.
If done right, the pact could stimulate exports while helping to reduce environmental destruction and improve the lives of workers in countries like Brunei, Peru, Chile and Vietnam, which were part of the negotiation. For example, countries that signed the deal would have to adopt minimum wages, protect endangered species and agree not to discriminate against foreign businesses in the interest of domestic and state-owned firms.
Picture: East Asia and Pacific Media Hub U.S. Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons