President Barack Obama has begun to tentatively try to sell the concepts of free trade to the American public but he will have to not only win over the people of the country, he also needs to work hard on those in his own Democratic party.
Currently President Obama is working to put the finishing touches to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact. The TPP, if allowed to go ahead fully, will allow free trade from Japan across to Chile and will cover a massive 40 percent of the globe in one agreement.
During his weekly address, President Obama said: “I’m the first to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype.”
He added: “But that doesn’t mean we should close ourselves off from new opportunities.”
According to a report by Reuters, the first step in working with other nations to finalise the TPP deal is to pass “fast track” legislation to streamline the passage of trade deals through Congress.
Pew Research Centre polling data has shown that it may be difficult to convince people that such a broad trade deal would be of any benefit to the country with the results showing that both the republicans and the democrats ae both wary about any such deal.
The polling data also showed, according to Reuters, that only 17 percent of people in the U.S believe that trade links can result in higher wages for workers in America, making the entire concept a very difficult one to sell by the President.
According to Reuters, congressional Republicans have been supportive of trade deals. Senator Orrin Hatch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has said he hopes to introduce a “fast track” bill in February.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that Obama needed to “continue what must be a sustained effort to move his own party forward” on working on trade legislation.
But many fall on the other side of the fence over this issue and actively show their support against the trade agreement.
President Obama is pushing for fast track authority and has said how he believes that this would protect workers and promote businesses, and said exporting companies pay higher wages.
To try and win over support he directly compared the US to China and spoke of the countries dominance in this area that the U.S needs to bite into.
“As we speak, China is trying to write the rules for trade in the 21st century,” Obama said. “We can’t let that happen. We should write those rules.”