November 12, 2016
Barack Obama will attend a meeting late next week in
Peru with the leaders of 11 other member states of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, the White
House said Friday, despite strident TPP opponent Donald Trump
winning Tuesday's presidential election.
Obama also plans to hold separate talks with Chinese President Xi
Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on
the sidelines of the Nov. 20 summit of the 21-member Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation forum (APEC)
in the Peru capital Lima, it said.
Speaking to reporters via conference call, Ben Rhodes,
Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic
communications, said he expects Obama to face inquiries about how
Trump's election will affect such issues as,
Iran's nuclear deal
trade including the TPP,
...during his three-nation trip that
will also take him to Greece and Germany.
"We certainly expect that the
election will be the primary topic on people's minds everywhere
we go," Rhodes said, referring to the Republican
president-elect's threat during the campaign to scrap the
nuclear deal with Tehran and pull Washington out of the TPP and
the Paris Agreement to fight global warming.
"I think that will be more so the case, given the direction that
the election took."
Asked about the TPP, Rhodes did not say
how Obama will fulfill his pledge to push it through Congress before
he leaves office in January, only saying,
"We're clear-eyed about the current
situation, but we believe what we believe about the value of
trade and the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the
"And I think given its size and importance, it's going to
have to continue to be a focus for the next president and
Congress going forward no matter what," he said.
Wally Adeyemo, deputy national
security adviser for international economics, told the conference
call that it is now up to Trump and Republican congressional leaders
to decide the future of the TPP, despite warning that failure of the
deal would allow China, a non-TPP party, to write trade rules for
the fast-growing region.
"In terms of the TPP agreement
itself, Leader McConnell has spoken to that and it's something
that he's going to work with the president-elect to figure out
where they go in terms of trade agreements in the future,"
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday,
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dashed hopes that the
TPP - the centerpiece of Obama's policy of strategic rebalance to
Asia - would come up for a vote before the president's
"It's certainly not going to be
brought up this year," McConnell said, adding any decision
on the TPP and other trade agreements would be up to Trump.
En route to Lima for the APEC summit,
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to meet with Trump
in New York on Thursday, as Abe is pushing for Japan's parliament to
ratify the TPP as early as possible.
APEC groups the TPP members:
the United States
...and other Pacific-rim economies such