“China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region,” Mr. Obama said in his State of the Union address Tuesday. “We should write those rules.”
Still under negotiation, the Pacific agreement would set rules for everything from the environment to drug patents, and cover nations with about 40% of global economic output and a third of world trade. The U.S. also is working on a trade deal with the European Union.
Mr. Obama is working to build support that has been elusive so far among Democratic lawmakers.
Members of the administration have privately been using the specter of Chinese economic dominance for at least a year to win support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a trade bloc under negotiation that would include Japan and 10 other Asia-Pacific countries but not China.
Read more: Officials recently have grown more outspoken with the argument, using it to win support for legislation that eases congressional passage of trade deals negotiated abroad.