Vietnam the biggest beneficiary if Obama can pass TPP

By    May 24, 2016 | 05:24 am PT
Vietnam the biggest beneficiary if Obama can pass TPP
Thousands of people turn out to greet Obama in Ho Chi Minh City, May 24. Photo by VnExpress
U.S. President Obama told Vietnamese entrepreneurs on Tuesday that despite some people being "suspicious of free trade", he is confident the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be passed. 

He emphasized the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between the 12 signatories of the deal. Vietnam’s manufacturing and export-led economy is seen as "the biggest TPP beneficiary" as the pact will accelerate economic reforms in Vietnam, boost the country’s economic competitiveness and open up new markets. 

We are going to create standards for world trade that are fair. They will encourage the rule of law and intellectual property that have strong environmental provisions so that countries can’t take advantage of or destroy the environment, Obama said during a meeting with young Vietnamese entrepreneurs at Dreamplex, a co-working space for startups in HCM City on May 24..

The TPP is not a done deal with opposition in Washington amid concerns about a loss of U.S. jobs.

“The good news is the majority of the American people still believe in trade, and still believe it is good for our economy. The bad news is that U.S. politics are not always, how should I put it, reasonable,” Obama said.

Although there have been a few ups and downs along the way to convincing U.S. legislators to approve the TPP, Obama is confident that “ultimately we will get it passed”.

“I would have had less gray hair if the Congress was more cooperative," said Obama, making the convention full of Vietnamese entrepreneurs burst into laughter. "There are still some very supportive congressmen here today. Ultimately we will get the TPP passed." he continued.

He noted that the politics will always be noisy. However as he has learned from experience, the ratification and implementation of the TPP is possible. He said when he came into office, there were some difficulties with the Korea Free Trade Agreement, and trade deals with Colombia and Panama, but in the end he got them done.

“When China came into the WTO, it could take advantage of the growing global supply chain. Lots of manufacturing was shifted to China. Many American people saw it as jobs exported to China. Some of the same things happened to Mexico too,” Obama said.

He mentioned that the majority of American people hold the perception that free trade agreements (FTAs) are bad for American workers.

Because of some details in old FTAs, people have become "suspicious of free trade" pacts and afraid that they will take away the jobs they need.

Obama argued that data proves that the U.S. may lose some manufacturing jobs, but the country will gain in other areas overall.

However, he said to continue to get the TPP passed in the U.S. Congress because “we are not going to end globalization; we have to make globalization works for us”.

President Obama was talking with Vietnamese entrepreneurs about their business ideas and the obstacles they have to overcome to make their ideas a reality.

The meeting took place at Dreamplex, a co-working office space in Ho Chi Minh City for startup companies.

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