Obama said TPP to prompt "serious labor reform" in Vietnam

By    May 22, 2016 | 11:31 pm PT
Obama said TPP to prompt "serious labor reform" in Vietnam
U.S. President Barack Obama reviews the guard of honour during welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Kham
President Barack Obama said the Trans-Pacific Partnership would prompt labor reform in Vietnam but it is not directly tied with the decision to lift the arms ban.  

In a press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang on Monday, President Obama said: "TPP actually is one of the things that's prompting a series of labor reforms here in Vietnam that could end up being extraordinarily significant. But that is not directly tied to the decision around military sales."

He said he was confident that the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal will be approved by the U.S. Congress. "I have not yet seen a credible argument that once we get TPP in place we're going to be worse off. [...] I'm confident we'll get it passed," he said. 

"I've spent enough time in the Senate to know that every trade deal is painful," he said, arguing that the trade deal is a good thing for U.S. businesses. "This is the fastest growing part of the world. This represents an enormous market for the U.S."

He saidone of the biggest complaints is the TPP opens up markets to countries with lower wages and a harsher environment. "If you're signing up for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, you are making commitments that are enforceable to raise labor standards, to ensure that workers have a voice to attend to environmental problems. This gives us the ability to engage with a country like Vietnam and work with them on all those fronts."

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang said the TPP is a significant deal that will contribute to sustaining Vietnam’s dynamism and "as a driver economic growth". Vietnam with other TPP country members have "make efforts to narrow differences". He said Vietnam to "stand by all commitments of TPP". 

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