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How Obama Can Revive His Stalling Trade Pacts

Robert B. Zoellick

By Robert Zoellick (original source The Wall Street Journal)

“How far away last summer already seems: In June a Republican congressional majority, backed by a small but hearty band of pro-trade Democrats, deftly passed a bill giving President Obama authority to negotiate free-trade deals. In December the president highlighted trade as one of the few opportunities for cooperation with Congress in 2016. Yet now trade policy is in deep trouble.

When Trade Ambassador Michael Froman in November released the text of the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as TPP, he acknowledged that concessions had been made on intellectual property and investment that would concern Senate Republican leaders. Negotiators always face difficult choices; unfortunately, the Obama administration titled TPP toward the interests of civil-society groups that will likely oppose the deal no matter what. The administration tilted away from the interest of Republicans and businesses, whose support they need to enact TPP. Negotiators must keep a close eye on congressional votes, as the legislative branch has authority over trade.”

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