Barack Obama speaks at ceremony celebrating graduating seniors of White House Leadership and Mentorship Program at White House in Washington

Trade rebuff fuels doubts on Obama bid to counter rising China

Barack Obama speaks at ceremony celebrating graduating seniors of White House Leadership and Mentorship Program at White House in WashingtonBy Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In his State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama left little doubt that his pursuit of a landmark Asia-Pacific trade pact was aimed at countering Beijing’s rising influence in the region. “China wants to write the rules … Why would we let that happen?” he asked. Obama now has the response he did not want: A congressional rebuff to his legacy-defining trade agenda has dealt a humiliating blow – at least for now – to his effort to reassure Asian allies of U.S. engagement, and could allow China to expand its clout at Washington’s expense.

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