President Obama: Trans-Pacific trade deal good for Oregon busine - KPTV - FOX 12

President Obama: Trans-Pacific trade deal good for Oregon businesses

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President Obama speaks at Nike HQ President Obama speaks at Nike HQ
BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) -

President Barack Obama chose the Oregon headquarters of athletic apparel and footwear company Nike as a backdrop to his efforts Friday to drum up support for a trade deal with countries across the Pacific Ocean.

"If we don't write the rules for trade around the world, guess what? China will," Obama said, "And they'll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand."

Nike pledged to create 10,000 jobs in the United States over the next 10 years if Congress gives Obama 'fast-track' trade negotiating authority that leads to the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Negotiations over the deal have put Obama in the awkward position of publicly battling with Democratic allies who normally would support him, including many lawmakers, labor unions and environmentalists.

Opponents fear the deal would lead to jobs being shifted overseas.

Obama argued that the current system doesn't benefit American workers, particularly those in the small businesses that he said create two out of every three jobs in the U.S. He said those businesses need easier access to the fast-growing Asian markets.

In particular, the president argued that Oregon's many food producers, including farmers and winemakers could benefit from easier trade with Asia.

"Beef's really expensive in Japan," Obama said. "Let's make sure they try some Oregon steak!"

The president said many opponents of the proposal point to other trade agreements like NAFTA as examples of why the Trans-Pacific Partnership should be scrapped, but he insisted the Trans-Pacific Partnership includes strict, enforceable regulations on child labor and the environment.

President Obama attempted to assuage fears that the Trans-Pacific Partnership was being negotiated in secret, saying any final deal would need to be posted online for 60 days before he could sign it, and then it would be sent to Congress.

Obama ended his speech by reinforcing his message that the trade deal is good for U.S. businesses.

"When the playing field is level, nobody beats the United States of America," Obama said.

The president departed from Portland shortly before noon Friday, headed to Watertown, South Dakota, where he was scheduled to give the commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute, a community college there.

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Copyright 2015 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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