Congress wants a role in trade agenda

Associated Press


The Obama administration has embarked on an aggressive trade agenda that could lower barriers and increase U.S. exports to many economic giants of Asia and Europe. To make that a reality, it may first have to negotiate future trade policy a little closer to home — with Congress.

The administration hopes to complete talks by October on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would reduce duties on a wide range of goods and services in the world’s most vibrant trading area. Eleven countries, including Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada, are participating, and Japan has expressed interest in joining.

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced plans for a second deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would link the U.S. and the European Union, the two largest economies.

Departing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk added to the agenda in January when he notified Congress of plans to start talks for a new trade agreement on international trade in services.

Obama has set a goal of doubling exports by the end of next year. However, he must nominate a successor to Kirk, who in January announced plans to step down.

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