The U.S. political impasse on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is a “brewing disaster” that could be a significant setback for U.S. engagement in Asia. “I think U.S. credibility goes almost to zero in the region if we don’t get that done,” said Christopher Johnson, senior adviser at Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. The U.S. and 11 countries in the Pacific region last year reached an accord on the TPP deal to liberalize trade among the participating countries and set common standards and cut barriers. However, doubts have grown over the deal after leading presidential candidates in the U.S. adopted a more protectionist stance ahead of the elections in November. “It really is the economic component of the US pivot to Asia. If we don’t get this done in the lame duck-session in Congress–which now looks very likely since we have both major candidates opposing the deal–it really is a great advertisement for China message in the region,” Johnson said.