Push for Controversial Trade Deal Continues With Pitch From Defense Secretary
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Monday trumpeted the administration’s so-called Pacific pivot and urged passage of legislative power that critics say will allow a massive corporate-friendly trade deal to be rammed through Congress.
Carter made the remarks during a speech at the McCain Institute of Arizona State University ahead of his inaugural trip to Asia, which begins with visits to Japan and South Korea.
He emphasized that the U.S. is forging ahead with its Asia-Pacific focus “to secure our enduring interests” and said that the region’s growth represents “an enormous opportunity” for the United States.
Carter outlined how he said the U.S. would be investing in areas relevant to the the region’s “complex and dynamic security environment”:
Carter also mentioned U.S. arms systems currently deployed in the Asia-Pacific, like
Carter’s speech also focused heavily on the other part of the “one-two punch”—the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The Defense Secretary said the U.S. will be able to capitalize on the region’s “customers” with the passage of vastly opposed Trade Promotion Authority, aslo known as fast track, which would speed passage of the controversial and secretive trade deal currently under negotiations. The TPP, he said, is “as important to me as another aircraft carrier.”
Though critics have challenged these supposed benefits of the deal, Carter said the TPP would offer U.S. job growth. He also said the trade deal would require the other 11 nations in the trade deal to “adopt the standards that we hold ourselves to here in the United States, such as: government transparency, intellectual property laws, a free and open internet, environmental protections, and workers’ rights. TPP would also lower barriers to American goods and services in the Asia-Pacific’s fastest growing markets.”
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