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House & Senate Aim to Fast-Track Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

New deal would govern trade between 12 countries, including the U.S., Japan, Canada and Mexico.
PublicPolicy-blog

Negotiators in the House and Senate are aiming to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that has been in negotiations for years between a dozen Pacific nations including the U.S., Japan, Canada and Mexico, according to a report from The New York Times.

The deal would protect the pact from filibusters and Congressional amendments, a move the Times says is a common prerequisite for major trade pacts because of the assurances it provides to foreign partners.

The deal would govern trade between 12 countries: U.S., Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. joined talks in 2008, Mexico and Canada joined in 2012, and Japan joined earlier this year.

The National Association of Manufacturers has supported the creation of a trade agreement in the region, which it said in its written testimony to the Interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee in 2009 could significantly level the international playing field and help U.S. competitiveness in Asia.  According to the testimony: "The NAM has long expressed an interest in a Trans-Pacific trade agreement that would lower trade barriers to U.S. exports … U.S. tariffs and trade barriers are generally quite low, while American producers face high tariffs and other barriers in key Asian countries. "

A statement The White House released in October on behalf of the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership nations said the agreement will support the creation and retention of jobs and promote economic development in the partnering countries. "The deepest and broadest possible liberalization of trade and investment will ensure the greatest benefits for countries’ large and small manufacturers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers, as well as workers, innovators, investors and consumers."

The statement indicated that the countries were "on track" to complete negotiations. According to the Times, the bill that would expedite finalization of the agreement is expected to be brought forward the week of Dec. 9 during the last few days of the 2013 Congressional session.

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