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Google backs Obama on the trade deal that some tech advocates hate

An endorsement of the TPP.

President Obama Delivers Statement On The Economy Alex Wong / Getty

Google has just lent its support to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Obama administration policy priority facing significant hurdles in this fraught election year.

The trade agreement includes key provisions about the global passage of digital data, intellectual property and copyright — measures that have drawn criticism from both the political right and left, including several outspoken tech groups.

Google’s endorsement isn’t exactly full-throated, but its stake clearly demonstrates another key area of support with the Obama administration, to which Google is close. Kent Walker, Google’s SVP and general counsel, wrote:

The TPP is not perfect, and the trade negotiation process could certainly benefit from greater transparency. We will continue to advocate for process reforms, including the opportunity for all stakeholders to have a meaningful opportunity for input into trade negotiations.

Google already backed the TPP earlier by proxy — the Internet Association, a tech group that includes the search giant, endorsed the trade agreement in March. Other tech titans, like Apple and Microsoft, have lent their support as well.

Signed in February, the TPP awaits congressional approval. However, it has hit political roadblocks from all sides. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has called for its abolition. On the left, opponents — including a number of tech startups — describe the TPP as a threat to IP laws and emblematic of opaque policymaking.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group (and on-again-off-again Google ally) calls the TPP a “secretive, multinational trade agreement” that will restrict IP laws and enforce digital policies that “benefit big corporations at the expense of the public."

Additionally, the advocacy group calls out the trade agreement for provisions that “create new threats to journalists and whistleblowers."

The Obama administration disagrees. And now it has a key tech partner in its corner.

Last night, President Obama visited “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” for a show-tune number that included a plug for the TPP.

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