President Barack Obama has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism over a pair of trade deals being negotiated among Pacific nations and the EU, mostly from his own party. On Thursday, he defended the deals as “vital” for the middle class.
Speaking to some 200 people at the Organizing for Action advocacy group – set up after Obama’s election to advance aligned interests – Obama said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be a boon to the US economy and workers. He also deflected critics who argue it is just like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been widely criticized by liberals as a drag on job creation.
“That’s not the trade agreement I’m passing,” Obama said, referring to NAFTA. “You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago.”