Wed, Sep 21, 2016 - Page 7 News List

Shinzo Abe urges Clinton to ratify TPP trade deal

Reuters, NEW YORK

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday met US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and said it was important for the US to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that she opposes, Japanese officials said.

Abe and Clinton met for about 15 minutes at Abe’s hotel in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly, the officials said.

The meeting was held at Clinton’s request, they said.

The two stressed the importance of improving the US-Japan security relationship and both outlined their positions on the 12-nation TPP, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The pact has been agreed, but not ratified by the US or Japan.

Clinton, the Democratic candidate in the Nov. 8 US presidential election, has opposed the deal, which is unpopular with labor unions and environmentalists, although she championed it while serving as US secretary of state.

In a speech to US business leaders in New York on Monday, Abe described the TPP as a “pillar” of the US rebalance of policy emphasis to Asia, which is in response to China’s rise.

“Through the TPP, the US can make clear its commitment to playing a leadership role in the growing Asia-Pacific,” he said. “Japan and the US must each obtain domestic approval of the TPP as soon as possible.”

“Success or failure will sway the direction of the global free-trade system and the strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific,” he said.

Abe said he would pursue TPP approval at an upcoming session of Japan’s parliament.

“Japan will spare no effort, and we count on the US to do the same,” he said.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama engaged Ohio Governor John Kasich to help press Republicans to approve the TPP before Obama leaves office in four months.

The unusual move is a sign of how the White House intends to make a final full-court push to convince Republican leaders in the US Congress to approve the deal in a “lame duck” session after the election.

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