(From Reuters)

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that a Chinese-led regional trade deal demonstrated the urgent need for Congress to approve the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016

Obama has been pushing to finalize the TPP before he leaves office on Jan. 20, but he needs to overcome strong anti-trade sentiment from both the left wing of his own Democratic Party as well as from the right flank of the Republican Party.

Voter anxiety over the impact of trade deals on jobs and the environment has featured large in the campaigns of Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for the Nov. 8 presidential election, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

In an opinion piece published on the website of the Washington Post on Monday, Obama said he understood voter skepticism but that “building walls to isolate ourselves from the global economy” would backfire on the American economy.

“China is negotiating a trade deal that would carve up some of the fastest-growing markets in the world at our expense, putting American jobs, businesses and goods at risk,” Obama said in the piece. Read more

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