The Obama administration released early Thursday the full text of the highly anticipated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, kicking off a 90-day period for congressional review.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a 12-nation deal that touches on 40% of the global economy. The provisions of the deal would knock down tariffs and import quotas, making it cheaper to import and export, and open new Asia-Pacific markets. Negotiations have been going on for years, led by the United States and Japan – with China conspicuously absent from the list of signees.
Opponents of the deal contend that it will cause overseas job losses and depress wages, since U.S. businesses will be better able to take advantage of low wage workers in developing economies.
Supporters, meanwhile, argue the deal will make it easier for U.S. businesses to sell overseas, opening up international markets just as the U.S. market is already open to imports from these 11 other countries. And they counter that the growth of U.S. exports will produce well-paying jobs at home.
If passed by Congress, the TPP would rank as one of President Barack Obama’s major second-term policy accomplishments and a signature part of his legacy.
But pursuit of the deal has made strange political bedfellows, as Obama had to join forces with congressional Republicans to secure fast-track authority for the deal, which prevents filibusters or amendments during the 90-day review period.
And Obama’s own party has largely abandoned him on the issue. All three candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination – Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley – have announced their opposition to the TPP, citing concerns about the lack of protections for American workers.
In response to the text, newly minted House Speaker Paul Ryan withheld judgment, but placed the burden on the administration to convince Congress to support it.
“I look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement that was released today,” Ryan said in a statement. “Enactment of TPP is going to require the administration to fully explain the benefits of this agreement and what it will mean for American families. I continue to reserve judgment on the path ahead. But I remain hopeful that our negotiators reached an agreement that the House can support because a successful TPP would mean more good jobs for American workers and greater U.S. influence in the world.”
CNN’s Tal Kopan contributed to this report.