Recycling used cell phones to combat deforestation is an encouraging development -- hopefully one that will be replicated and scaled up around the world. However, efforts to combat the act of illegal logging must be paired with efforts to curb the demand for illegally harvested timber from importing countries.
The trade deficit is a direct measure of jobs leaving the country. The trade deficit is American dollars going to other countries so people there can spend them. The trade deficit is our standard of living leaking away. And the trade deficit is a major factor driving what remains of the budget deficit.
Obama and Abe have been in negotiations over Japan's treatment of sensitive agricultural products, including rice, beef, pork, wheat, and dairy products, and over trade in automobiles -- but a breakthrough is still out of reach. This lack of progress is just one of several indicators that the TPP is faltering, if not failing.