‘Competitors who don’t share our values’: President Barack Obama jabs China as he defends TPP deal

Hillary Clinton has said the deal falls short of her “high bar” for creating American jobs, raising wages and advancing US national security.

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 11:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 7:17pm

US President Barack Obama took a dig at China on Saturday as he defended the new TPP Pacific Rim free-trade deal, which excludes Beijing.

In his weekly address to the nation, Obama said the 12-country accord concluded this week after five years of negotiations features the strongest labour and environmental standards in history, which he said will level the field in international trade. Once approved by all the signatories, the TPP could be the largest regional trade pact ever.

READ MORE: The biggest losers: Beijing and Hong Kong economy to suffer from Washington-led free-trade deal

“Without this agreement, competitors that don't share our values, like China, will write the rules of the global economy,” Obama said. “They'll keep selling into our markets and try to lure companies over there, meanwhile they're going to keep their markets closed to us.”

Spanning about two-fifths of the global economy, the TPP aims to set the rules for 21st century trade and marks one of Obama's key diplomatic and economic achievements.

Competitors that don't share our values, like China, will write the rules of the global economy
US President Barack Obama

He hopes it will encourage investment and press China to shape its behaviour in commerce, investment and business regulation to TPP standards. But the deal has faced opposition from activists, who argue it favours big business over consumers and governments, and US congressional leaders have already expressed reservations even before the details have been released.

Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state under Obama promoted the negotiations aimed at sealing the TPP and is now the Democratic front runner in the race for the 2016 presidential election, has come out against it.

Clinton said on Wednesday that given what she knows about the deal it falls short of her “high bar” for creating American jobs, raising wages and advancing US national security. Under the deal, 98 per cent of tariffs will be eliminated on everything from beef, dairy products, wine, sugar, rice, horticulture and seafood through to manufactured products, resources and energy.

Countries involved are the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.