For footwear, the key takeaway from the Super Tuesday primaries is that the countdown for the Trans-Pacific Partnership passage has regained new urgency.
With two anti-TPP and trade-liberalization-resistant candidates looking to take over the office on Jan. 20, 2017, TPP supporters are seeing the importance in getting the deal through Congress by year-end.
“My concern is that no matter who wins the presidency, if our choices are Donald Trump or Secretary Clinton, there won’t be a focus on the need to continue trade liberalization via the TPP,” said Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Retailers and Distributors of America. “If there is a positive here, it’s another sign to the current leadership under President Obama, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell that now is the time to get these things done, because all bets are off under Clinton or Trump if they take office.”
Similarly, Nate Herman, VP of Trade at the American Apparel and Footwear Association, agreed, saying the deal needed to happen this year. “The plan that we’re working towards is passage by Congress this year, and that is our goal. We still believe it’s possible,” said Herman.
While passage of this term was always the goal, major challenges facing one of Obama’s legacy points are magnified this morning. Time is certainly one: There are fewer than 100 legislative days left this congressional term.
Another challenge comes from the noise of the elections and other high-profile items in front of Congress that are getting increased media attention — like the Senate’s refusal to vet an Obama Supreme Court nominee.
Another key issue after Super Tuesday is the impact that either candidate could have on congressional election outcomes. With two polarizing names on the ballot, it could have a domino effect on other races. If the TPP were to come up in a Trump or Clinton administration, who knows what the congressional makeup would even look like — and if there would even be support next term.
And that’s not withstanding the fact that congressional members were going to have to make a controversial vote during a sensitive election season anyway, so either way, Senators and Representatives were facing a major challenge.
Now it’s up to Ohio and Michigan residents to cast the next ballots.