Trade Promotion Authority legislation, which is expected to be
presented this week with bipartisan support, would let the White
House put trade agreements before Congress for an up or down vote
The Chamber's president, Thomas Donohue, urged quick approval of the
bill, given that major accords are being negotiated with Pacific Rim
and European trading partners.
"We are going to do all we can to make the case for approval,"
Donohue said in an address to lay out 2014 priorities for the
Chamber, the country's biggest business lobby group.
Trade deals can lower the cost of goods imported into the United
States and boost markets for U.S. exports, but critics express
concern about the impact of overseas competition on local workers
Trade promotion authority is considered essential to secure
agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 other Pacific Rim
countries and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
with the European Union, two major trade deals that the United
States is negotiating this year. But some lawmakers have complained
that fast-tracking would exclude them from the process.
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"It will take a little while, but we will get it, the votes are
there," Donohue told reporters after his speech.
"If you don't have it, at some point ... the people you are
negotiating with are not going to agree to a deal without an
understanding of how the Congress will participate."
Agreement on the legislation was reached last month by Democrat Max
Baucus, chairman the Senate Finance Committee, which has
jurisdiction over trade, the committee's senior Republican, Orrin
Hatch, and Representative Dave Camp, the Republican chairman of the
House Ways and Means Committee, which also oversees trade issues.
(Reporting by Krista Hughes; editing by
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