With Hillary and Trump, TPP may go to the ventilator

The US election set to enter into the final phases, both candidates have given enough hints that they are not supporters of the fancied Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the Obama administration portrayed as the US Pivot against the China.

Of the two, Trump is more vocal against the free trade arrangement that involve the 11 major friends of the US in the Pacific region including Japan and Australia.

In her campaign Hillary Clinton made her traditional opposition against multilateral trade deals – “My message to every worker across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” 

Opposition to trade deals where anybody can throw suspicion of job loss is an easily saleable item in the election campaigns. Both Ms Clinton and Mr Trump have portrayed Obama’s dearest engagement in the Pacific as an arrangement that exports labour from the US.  

The Obama administration has made intensive efforts to make the deal in shape. Considerable diplomatic energy was spent on bringing the parties into some sort of an agreement. Now, with the change in administration in the US, the trade deal is breathing its last. Trade partners of the US at the TPP are not understandably happy. The Australian has described the approach of the Presidential candidates as “damaging US retreat from Asia that will bolster the regional economic influence of Beijing.”

The TPP was seen as a US trade offensive against China in the Chinese backyard. But the speed in which the US Presidential candidates thrown away the free trade discussion outcome was even surprising for its partners.

With the election propaganda that has put the TPP almost on the brink of death, the US is facing a credibility crisis among its friends in the Pacific who increasingly fears China.