#FZGPS: America’s TPP deal negotiator responds to 2016ers’ criticism – “We’re convinced it’s a very high standard deal”
Sunday’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS on CNN/U.S. features an exclusive interview with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman who led the American negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal between the U.S. and 11 Asian and North American nations of the Pacific Rim – an estimated 40 percent of the global economy. They discussed the logistics, the politics, and the next steps for ‘the TPP,’ and what the deal means for American jobs and the global economy. This interview aired in its entirety on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 10am &1pm ET on CNN/U.S.:
MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”
FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: Some say it is a cornerstone foreign policy accomplishment for the Obama administration. But the president’s former Secretary of State came out against it this week. I’m not talking about the Iran nuclear deal, but about something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is a massive trade deal negotiated by the United States with 11 different nations comprising 40 percent of the global economy.
So why is Mrs. Clinton now against something that, according to CNN’s count, she has pushed 45 times in the past publicly? And if it’s such a great deal, why is the administration being secretive about the details?
We will get to all of that with my next guest, the man who oversaw the deal, the United States Trade Representative, Michael Froman.
Mike, nice to have you on.
MICHAEL FROMAN, U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Good to be here.
ZAKARIA: First, 11 nations, this took six years — it’s quite an accomplishment. And I’ve got to ask you, what is the key to getting a deal of this magnitude? What did you learn about negotiating?
FROMAN: Well, I think it took a lot of persistence by all 12 countries working together to reach an agreement that’s going to create jobs and increase wages and promote growth across the whole region.
ZAKARIA: It was six years in the making. During a good bit of that time, the Secretary of State you were dealing with was Hillary Clinton. Publicly she supported it, as we point out, 45 times. Was she very supportive privately, as well?
FROMAN: I won’t comment on presidential politics, just to say that we’re all focused on making sure that through this agreement we can level the playing field and open markets for our exports.
ZAKARIA: But you must have been surprised by her opposition.
FROMAN: Well, again, I think the key thing is to focus on having the deal on the table, having people have a chance to read it, to get into the details, so that they can make a judgment about it.
We’re convinced it’s a very high-standard deal. It opens markets around the world. It eliminates 18,000 taxes on U.S. exports. It raises labor and environmental standards around the world. It establishes new disciplines on new challenges in the global economy, all of which reflect American interests and American values.
So I’m convinced as the people sit down and take the time to go through it in detail, that they’ll come to a positive judgment.
ZAKARIA: So if this is such a good deal, why is it all secret?
FROMAN: Well, you know, it’s not all secret. We’ve put out a lot of information about it along the way, and we’re looking forward to getting the text released as soon as possible. The lawyers are working right now to finalize the text and to prepare it for release. We hope to get it out within the next 30 days.
But throughout, it’s an international negotiation, and you’ve got to have some ability to negotiate discreetly with other parties to get to the best possible outcome for American interests. And that’s what we’ve done.
ZAKARIA: And what do you say to people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who say the result of these kind of agreements is Americans — American jobs get shipped overseas?
FROMAN: Well, we’ve got 95 percent of all the world’s consumers living outside the United States. And some of these are the fastest growing and largest economies in the world.
Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, will have three billion middle class consumers in the next 15 years, and for us to be successful, for us to keep businesses here, to manufacture, to grow things here and ship them abroad, we need access to those markets. That’s how we’re going to grow good paying jobs here in the United States.
We know that export-related jobs pay up to 18 percent more, on average, than non-export-related jobs. So if we can tear down these barriers, level the playing field, increase our exports, we’re going to lead to more good paying jobs here in the United States.
ZAKARIA: And the overarching strategic idea, as you say, is this pivot to Asia, to focus on Asia, to make sure that China does not, as the President has said, write the new rules of international trade and commerce. So there’s a very strong foreign policy component to this. And the pivot to Asia was, of course, something strongly supported by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. Do you hope that a President Clinton would follow through on a policy that she was very much part of creating?
FROMAN: Well, I think this is a key part of the rebalancing towards Asia strategy. It’s one of the most concrete manifestations of that policy. And it underscores that the United States is a Pacific power, that we’re going to be involved in the region, and that our partners in the region very much want us to be embedded with them, economically and strategically.
And I think the logic of that will continue to hold going forward.
ZAKARIA: Could China see this as a kind of containment strategy? The United States is ganging up with all its allies and trying to, in some way, shut China out?
FROMAN: TPP is not directed against any country, including China. It is directed at establishing high standards for the region, rules of the road that reflect our interests and our values. And it’s meant to encourage other countries to raise their game as well. You know, we already have countries who’ve contacted us, who want to be considered for the next tranche of TPP partners. And we expect that more countries will join over time if they are able and willing to meet the high standards of the agreement.
ZAKARIA: Michael Froman, the man who negotiated the TPP. Thank you.
FROMAN: Thanks for having me.