American credibility is on the line over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Singapore’s prime minister said Monday, urging its ratification despite growing political opposition in the U.S. to the 12-nation free trade pact.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong acknowledged that the TPP was politically difficult in a tough election year because of American people’s worries over jobs and competition from overseas.
But he said the pact would give the U.S. better access to the markets that account for 40 percent of global economic output and add heft to Washington’s effort to deepen its engagement in the Asia-Pacific.
“For America’s friends and partners, ratifying the TPP is a litmus test of your credibility and seriousness of purpose,” Lee told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ahead of a meeting Tuesday with President Barack Obama at the White House.
The TPP was negotiated by the Obama administration and was signed by the 12 participating governments, including Singapore, in February but it has yet to be ratified by Congress. The Republican presidential contender Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton have both come out against the pact.