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Kerry Praises Stalled TPP


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a meeting with youths from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 5, 2015.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a meeting with youths from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 5, 2015.

Secretary of State John Kerry is promoting the benefits of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that would involve about 40 percent of global trade.

As they met in Hawaii last week -- trade ministers failed to agree on the Trans- Pacific Partnership.

"As with any complex negotiation, and I have watched them for years in the Senate, voted for them may I say, for the trade agreements, there remain details to be hashed out. "

At a Singapore university, Secretary Kerry said a finalized TPP deal could raise standards in other areas.

“Under this pact, every participant will have to comply with core international labor and environmental standards; every participant will have to refrain from using under-age workers, unsafe workplaces.”

Analysts say the impact of those additional benefits could be limited.

“The trade deal’s ability to influence human rights is around the edges. It is not a human rights agreement.”

If implemented the TPP would have a broad impact on global trade, affecting businesses ranging from the sugar industry ... to pharmaceuticals. But getting countries with competing interests on board will be a challenge -- says Singapore analyst Deborah Elms, who spoke via SKYPE.

“The real challenge is you have 12 countries with very different interests. Sometimes they are aligned, but many times they are not.”

Before the visit, a senior State Department official said Singapore was sort of the ‘brain trust’ of Southeast Asia. The two counties share partnerships on a range of issues, including security and trade.

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