World Economy

Obama Defends Pacific Trade Deal

Obama Defends Pacific Trade DealObama Defends Pacific Trade Deal

US President Barack Obama on Thursday faced down criticism from his own supporters over a looming Pacific trade deal, saying he had no intention of selling American workers out.

Addressing a community volunteer group, Obama poured scorn on critics who have accused him of pursuing a trade deal with 11 other Pacific nations that would hurt middle class Americans. “If there were a trade agreement that undercut working families, I wouldn’t sign it,” he said.

Supporters insist the Trans-Pacific Partnership will level the playing field for American workers, and allow Washington to help write the rules of 21st century global trade rather than its economic rival China. But memories of the decline of manufacturing and industrial jobs after the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1994 have caused some unions to oppose the deal.

  Undermines Internet Freedom

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied online against the TPP free trade agreement because provisions of the deal violate Internet rights, according to a US digital advocacy group, Sputnik reported.

“Less than a week after Congress introduced Fast Track/Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, thousands of websites and tens of thousands of Internet users have united against it, citing… dangerous provisions in agreements like the TPP that undermine freedom of speech on the Web,” Fight for the Future announced in a press release on Thursday.

More than 2,354 websites and tech companies joined an “emergency action” on Thursday, calling on Internet users to contact their congressmen to tell them to oppose the agreement, the release said.

Fight for Future said the TPP agreement contains provisions that will force Internet service providers to remove content that allegedly infringes on corporate intellectual property rights and will create harsh penalties for journalists and whistleblowers, according to the group’s website.