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Obama Signs Official Letter of Intent to Join the TPP

The president has announced that he officially intends to enter into the agreement.

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that he intends to agree to the massively controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in a letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.

The letter, released just hours after the full text of the agreement became public after years of secret negotiations, is basically a formality. Still, it shows that Obama is serious about signing the TPP, and highlights the fight ahead.

Even if Obama is gung-ho on the deal, prominent fellow Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have strongly opposed the TPP as it currently stands. There's no guarantee that Congress will approve of the agreement.

If the US were to formally enter into the TPP, it would be a signal to the other 11 nations in the agreement to follow suit. And the same would be true for the opposite, Michael Geist, a Canadian internet lawyer and prominent TPP critic, wrote me in an email.

"With opposition from US democratic presidential hopefuls and from US Republican Senators, it doesn't seem like a done deal," Geist wrote. "Without the US, the TPP will not take effect."

Read Obama's full letter below: