The U.S. government came out Wednesday in defense of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, saying it will do away with up to 18,000 taxes, which other countries currently impose on products from the U.S., besides strengthening the 'Made in America' brand.
The TPP was signed Monday in the U.S. city of Atlanta, by U.S., Mexico, Peru, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand.
US trade representative Michael Froman, who led the country's delegation in the TPP negotiations, said workers, farmers and businesses will benefit from the elimination of 18,000 taxes that are currently imposed on US exports by other countries.
"When the rules are fair, Americans can out-compete anyone in the world," said Froman.
He mentioned how American-manufactured products are currently taxed at up to 100 percent of their value in some markets in the Asia-Pacific, and how in some countries agricultural products face tariffs over 700 percent.
He said in such cases the odds are stacked against U.S. workers, who are among the most productive on the planet.
He cited cases of apples produced in Washington state, beef from Texas, and highly value-added commodities such as software from the Silicon Valley, California, all of which stand to benefit from the TPP.
According to the White House, vehicles with engines manufactured in the U.S. currently pay tariffs of up to 30 percent in Malaysia, while competitors from Japan or Turkey don't pay any.
Similarly, bird meat from the U.S. face up to 40 percent taxes, compared to only 20 percent for that from New Zealand.
Froman said some estimates indicated average salary in the U.S. manufacturing sector could rise by up to 12 percent, if not for such duties.
He presented the TPP as a solution to "disadvantages" faced by American workers and businesses in a scenario where "more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders."
Since the signing of the deal, U.S. President Barack Obama has started a campaign to secure Congress approval within the assigned 90 working days.
However, sections of his own party, the Democrats, are expected to create hurdles in its passage.
The TPP, awaiting approval from the parliaments of the 12 signatory countries before it can come into effect, is key to Obama's foreign policy, which aims to prioritize relations with Asia-Pacific to counter China's growing influence in the region.
Advocates of the deal, including the Republican majority in Congress, argue it will help American products access new markets and thus favorably impact the country's workforce.
Its critics, however say, TPP will lead to job losses in the U.S., and benefit countries with lower wages.