UPDATE 1-Obama enlists Republican Kasich to strategize on TPP passage

Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:29am EDT
 
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(Updates with Obama quotes from Oval Office)

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday engaged Ohio Governor John Kasich, a high-profile political foe, to help press Republicans to approve the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal before he leaves office in four months.

Obama discussed strategy for how to overcome domestic political angst over the TPP with Kasich, who fell short in his bid to be the Republican presidential candidate, and arranged for him to speak with reporters afterward from the White House briefing room lectern.

The unusual move was a sign of how the White House intends to make a final full-court push to persuade Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress to approve the deal in a "lame duck" session after the Nov. 8 election, where the TPP has been pilloried by both Republican and Democratic candidates.

"Right now, China is pushing hard to create their own trade agreement," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office, saying American businesses were at risk of being "cut out" of Asia, the world's fastest growing market.

"I promise you that China's not going to be setting up a bunch of rules that are going to be to the advantage of American companies and American businesses," Obama said.

Kasich was joined by other business and political leaders, including former Republican Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, International Business Machines Corp Chief Executive Officer Virginia Rometty and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ahead of the meeting, Kasich told CNN that he knew he would be criticized for meeting with Obama but said passage of the trade deal was vital.   Continued...