President Obama on Tuesday morning asked people to make their own judgment about the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact by reading it themselves online.
"Along with the text of the agreement, we've posted detailed materials to help explain it," Obama wrote in an op-ed for Bloomberg. "It's an unprecedented degree of transparency — and it's the right thing to do."
"Not every American will support this deal, and neither will every member of Congress. But I believe that in the end, the American people will see that it is a win for our workers, our businesses and our middle class. And I expect that, after the American people and Congress have an opportunity for months of careful review and consultation, Congress will approve it, and I'll have the chance to sign it into law," Obama added.
On Monday, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., tweeted out a picture showing just how hard it might be for the average person to read the deal. His tweet showed a pile of paper about three feet high on his desk.
Still, Obama defended the agreement as one that would grow the U.S. economy and help the middle class. "That's why I believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership is so important. It's a trade deal that helps working families get ahead," he wrote.
"At a time when 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, this agreement will open up new markets to made-in-America goods and services," he continued. "Today, exports support 11.7 million American jobs. Companies that sell their goods around the world tend to grow faster, hire more employees and pay higher salaries than companies that don't. On average, export-supported jobs pay up to 18 percent more than other jobs."
Obama also said the deal would eliminate 18,000 tariffs that other countries impose on U.S. goods when they are exported. "For instance, last year, we exported $89 billion in automotive products alone to TPP countries, many of which have soaring tariffs — more than 70 percent in some cases — on made-in-America products," he wrote. "Our farmers and ranchers, whose exports account for roughly 20 percent of all farm income, face similarly high tariffs. Thanks to the TPP, those taxes will drop drastically, most of them to zero."
Obama also lauded the treaty's provisions regulating labor and environmental standards.
"Provisions protecting the environment and combating wildlife trafficking make sure that economic growth doesn't come at the expense of the only planet we call home," he stated. "And these commitments are enforceable."