President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he believed the odds for striking a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement were “significantly higher than 50-50″, though one “big bugaboo” concerned tobacco.
According to a story by Justin Sink for The Hill, Obama, speaking during a meeting with his export council, said he believed he and business leaders could “make a strong case” to Congress to approve the treaty.
The US is negotiating the TPP agreement with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Obama acknowledged there were still some significant stumbling blocks in the regional free-trade agreement.
He said one “big bugaboo” was a concern that tobacco companies could use the deal to sue poorer countries in a bid to prevent anti-smoking legislation, or conversely, that anti-smoking laws could be unfairly applied to shake down US tobacco manufacturers.
But the president said he was optimistic negotiators could find a way that tobacco companies could abide by local safety rules by ensuring the laws “are not being discriminatorily applied.”
A lengthy report by Stephanie Cohen for Bloomberg BNA is at: http://www.bna.com/obama-optimistic-finalizing-n17179918843/.