Mr. Baker joins President Obama, U.S. officials to support trade pact

Cover photo: President Obama with the leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership member states.


President Obama invited four former secretaries of state, including James A. Baker, III, to the White House on Nov. 13 to show bipartisan support for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP).

The TPP aims to deepen economic ties and foster trade between the 12 countries involved: the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. Together, the proposed bloc is responsible for about 40 percent of world trade.

“One thing we all agreed on as we discussed the issue is if we fail to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership, if we do not create the architecture for high standards for this region, then that void will be filled by China, it will be filled by our economic competitors,” President Obama said. “They will make the rules and the rules will not be to our advantage. So the time is for us to get this done.”

In addition to Mr. Baker, former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger attended Friday’s discussion. Other former officials at the meeting included Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former national security advisor Brent Scowcroft.

In a statement earlier this month, Mr. Baker said the TPP “will promote deeper regional economic integration, increased political cooperation, and ultimately greater stability in one of the world’s most important regions. This agreement is an important example of the kind of global leadership America should provide and is firmly in our national security interest.”

Read more about the TPP and the Nov. 13 White House meeting at The New York Times (registration may be required), The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).