Obama: Trade Politics Tough, But Opposition Helps China

Economic Indicators Associated Press

President Barack Obama says the politics of international trade have always been difficult, especially within the Democratic Party. But he says U.S. opposition to new trade agreements would give China a leg up in setting the rules for commerce.

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Obama's seeking to reassure critics by saying deals with Asia and Europe would have enforceable labor and environmental protections.

Obama spoke at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Top congressional lawmakers reached a deal Thursday to pave the way for the broadest trade policy pact in years. Under the agreement, Obama would be allowed to negotiate trade accords that Congress could approve or reject, but not change.

That authority would set the stage for Obama to complete a sweeping trade agreement with 11 Pacific nations.