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Bob Buckhorn considers TPP “in our country’s best interests”

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Supporters of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) trade agreement are hailing an analysis released on Monday that says its implementation would increase incomes, exports and growth in the U.S.

The Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics study says the deal would increase real incomes by $131 billion annually, while exports would increase $357 billion, or over 9 percent above previous projections by 2030, when the deal is supposed to be fully in force.

The 12-nation agreement is considered to be one of the biggest items on Barack Obama’s bucket list before he leaves office next year. It’s intended to reduce trade barriers between the 12 countries by lowering tariffs on goods, coordinating regulations and much more.

Backing him up the president is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who is the chairman of TTP task force with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“The opportunity to sell ‘Made in America’ goods around the globe and to knock down some of the impediments that have been erected to U.S. businesses can only be a good thing for our communities and for our bottom line,” Buckhorn said on a conference call set up by the White House on Tuesday. “The passage of TTP is in our best interests, our cities best interest, and we think in our country’s best interests.”

Whether the TPP can pass the current Congress is in question, as is when the Obama administration will actually bring the bill to the House and Senate.

Locally, both Kathy Castor and David Jolly have been critical of the process. Jolly voted against giving the president trade promotional authority (TPA) last year, legislation that would give Obama the power to negotiate an international deal that Congress can either approve or reject, but not modify (the bill passed). He said he didn’t trust the president.

Castor told Florida Politics last summer that she was leaning against the deal, saying, “There’s still a lot of economic uncertainty, and when you talk about trade, for so many people that means, ‘oh gosh, offshoring of jobs.’

Other critics have dubbed the deal “NAFTA on steroids,” and it’s opposed by presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

Buckhorn says that the issues with negative issues with NAFTA have been addressed during the negotiations for the TTP, which took place over the past seven years. “It is a much, much better deal for workers and the environment, and I think that there are members that are encouraged by that,” he said.

Since there is no timetable as to when the deal will go before Congress, Buckhorn said that a “full-court press” on persuading members of Congress to support it hasn’t begun yet, “but you can be assured that we will be fully engaged when that time comes.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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