In a press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Song Tuesday, President Obama talked about his continuing support for the Transpacific Partnership deal. The deal which has been highly controversial from both Obama's own party and Republicans, hopes to strengthen trade ties between nations in the Pacific domain and America.
In the deal, 12 countries (US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru) hope to slash tarrifs to allow for freer trade, decreased economic regulations, and a standard set of regulation between the nations. Democratic party candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both actively campaigned against the agreement, as has Republican nominee Donald Trump.
In a statement, President Obama said:
"Right now I'm president, and I'm for it...And I think I've got the better argument. I've made this argument before. I'll make it again. We are part of a global economy. We're not reversing that"
The deal has been compared to the 1994 NAFTA agreement, which supporters say has led to increased global trade and a stronger economy but critics deride as taking away manufacturing jobs away from blue-collar Americans. President Obama attempted to address these concerns saying:
"There are legitimate concerns and anxieties that the forces of globalization are leaving too many people behind -- and we have to take those concerns seriously and address them...The answer isn't to turn inward and embrace protectionism. We can't just walk away from trade. In a global economy where our economies and supply chains are deeply integrated, it's not even possible"
All 11 other countries have ratified the agreement, making the U.S. the only holdout. Congress has expressed little interest in pushing the agreement forward, but the President says he believes this is only due to the craziness of the election saying:
"Hopefully after the election is over and the dust settles there will be more attention to the actual facts behind the deal and it won't just be be a political symbol or a political football"