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Oct. 25 — President Barack Obama will travel to Peru Nov. 18-20 where he will meet with leaders of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit and underscore efforts to move the pact forward.
“The President will focus on his continued efforts to make the case to Congress and the American people for approval of TPP without further delay,” according to an Oct. 25 White House statement.
The president's trip to Peru comes as the TPP countries, all of whom are members of APEC, are pursuing their own pathways to ratification while the fate of the pact in the U.S. Congress is still unclear. Ambassador Tim Groser said recently that New Zealand is “well-advanced” in its parliamentary process of ratifying the pact.
The president has met with leaders of the TPP countries on the margins of the APEC summit every year since 2011, according to the statement.
The administration wants Congress to consider the 12-nation TPP pact during the lame-duck session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have said the vote won't take place this year on the current version of the pact.
Both Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton and her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, have come out again the deal, further complicating efforts for a lame-duck vote. But the president and his administration are still urging a lame-duck vote, warning that the U.S. will cede leadership to China if the deal is not ratified (188 ITD, 9/28/16).
Obama also will have bilateral discussions with Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. The trip will emphasize U.S. support for Asia-Pacific regional institutions and efforts at regional economic integration through trade liberalization.
The Obama administration's trade agenda and legacy have been cast into doubt by uncertainty about whether the U.S. Congress will consider the TPP this year and by growing opposition in Europe to the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union.
The president will also visit Germany Nov. 17-18 and Greece Nov. 15-16. While in Germany, the president will have one last opportunity to meet with his “Quint” counterparts “to review a range of global issues,” according to the statement. The NATO Quint is a group consisting of five western powers: the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. The meeting comes as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership talks appear to have lost steam as a result of the Brexit referendum in the U.K. and continuing uncertainty over the EU's trade pact with Canada, which is viewed as a much easier lift than the TTIP.
Trans-Atlantic economic relations will be among issues discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the statement said. French President Francois Hollande has been a critic of TTIP, but Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is a strong supporter of the pact.
In Greece, Obama will reaffirm U.S. support for ongoing efforts to place the Greek economy on a path to sustainability and renewed prosperity.
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The White House statement is available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/25/statement-press-secretary-presidents-travel-greece-germany-and-peru.
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