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Obama set for 'full-fledged' TPP push

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/08/2016 Peter Mitchell, NZN US Correspondent

President Obama in a Christchurch-made sweater. © Demotix Live News/Demotix/Corbis President Obama in a Christchurch-made sweater. US President Barack Obama is launching "a full-fledged, full-throated effort" to push the Trans-Pacific Partnership mega trade deal through Congress in the final lame duck months of his presidency.

This is despite vocal opposition from the leading candidates to replace him, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and labour unions that helped Mr Obama win two terms in the White House.

The TPP, a mega trade deal proposal between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and seven other key Pacific Rim nations, would be the final landmark piece of Mr Obama's presidency.

"This will be a full-fledged, full-throated effort," Mr Obama's deputy US trade representative, Robert Holleyman, told an event this week at Atlanta's Commerce Club.

The Atlanta event reflected the huge divide between TPP supporters and critics in the US.

David Abney, the chief executive of the world's largest package delivery company UPS, talked up what he believed would be the TPP's ability to cut red tape for US small and mid-sized businesses entering new Asia-Pacific markets.

As Mr Abney spoke, UPS drivers and union representatives supporting them protested outside the Commerce Club.

"We're opposed to the TPP because we feel like it's going to undermine American workers' standard of living," Teamsters Local 728 political director Eric Robertson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Mr Obama has put Congress on notice he will be sending a TPP bill their way.

The White House has also organised 30 pro-TPP events to support Democrat and Republican members of Congress who favour the legislation.

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