WSJ: Nontrade Concerns Cloud Obama’s Push for Pacific Deal

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Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D., Texas), a critic of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, discusses his opposition at a news conference in Washington, D.C., in June. PHOTO: LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Obama administration’s push to clinch a sweeping Pacific trade deal this week faces stiff opposition over concerns—ranging from human trafficking to antigay laws—that have little to do with trade.

[Reposted from the Wall Street Journal  |  William Mauldin  |  July 27, 2015]

At talks starting Tuesday in Hawaii, U.S. trade negotiators hope to resolve an array of technical differences over dairy duties, drug pricing rules and other issues to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

But in Washington, the biggest challenge to winning final congressional approval for the deal could revolve around allegations of human trafficking in Malaysia, Shariah-based laws in Brunei, environmental shortcomings and even concerns that a deal would undermine U.S. sovereignty.

The noneconomic concerns have helped swell congressional opposition to Mr. Obama’s trade policy among both Democrats and Republicans who aren’t convinced that the agreement is in the national interest.

“There are a host of noneconomic issues, though many of them have economic implications,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D., Texas), a leading critic of the TPP on the House committee that oversees trade.

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