What Will Become of Obama’s Free Trade Goals?

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Congress has a new piece of legislation on its plate, and the Obama Administration is hoping to get it pushed through quickly, according to Bloomberg. The legislation would give President Barack Obama the ability to finalize three enormous trade accords — or as those in the talks are calling it, trade-promotion authority. The House of Representative’s Ways and Means Committee Chair, Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and the heads of the Senate Finance Committee worked on the issue.

One of the complex deals the Obama administration is presently negotiating would be made with eleven Pacific region nations and with the entirety of the European Union, according to Bloomberg. In doing so, the agreements made would bring together the largest free-trade zone. A service-trade agreement is also in the works, but legislation is key to getting accomplishments such as this done.

“The TPA [trade-promotion authority] legislation we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right. This is our opportunity to tell the administration — and our trading partners — what Congress’s negotiating priorities are,” said Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, according to Bloomberg.

The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said that the trade-promotion authority would be necessary for successful negotiations on the free trade agreement — an accord that would connect all involved with approximately $44 trillion of output on a yearly basis.

Businesses are somewhat split in their support of the plan, many, like Matt Blunt of the American Automotive Policy Council, calling for “currency discipline” that would be “strong and enforceable” before the plan would gain his support — according to an interview with Bloomberg. Of course, Congress has a fair number of other items presently on their plates, from unemployment insurance, to the farm bill, to the possibility of a minimum wage increase.

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