(In first paragraph, adds “next” to clarify the trip will take place on Friday May 8)
WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will travel to Nike Inc headquarters in Oregon next Friday to argue that a 12-nation Pacific trade deal and the fast-track legislation needed to finalize the pact are good for workers.
Obama faces tough opposition from his fellow Democrats in Congress over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which they fear could hurt American jobs and the environment.
He will use the trip to the headquarters of Nike, a company once criticized for its use of “sweatshops,” to “discuss how workers will benefit from progressive, high-standards trade agreements that would open up new markets and support high-quality jobs,” the White House said in a statement.
Nike was targeted by labor activists in the early 1990s for contracting with factories in Asia where workers faced dangerous conditions and low pay. The criticism prompted the company to create a code of conduct for contractors and open factories for inspections.
Obama has made the TPP a key part of his effort to rebalance his foreign policy to Asia to counter China’s economic might.
He has argued that the deal would be the most “progressive” and transparent in history, with protections for labor and the environment.
But he has so far failed to sway allies in the labor and environmental movements. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Will Dunham and Dan Grebler)