Froman says Asia-Pacific trade deal still under construction

The nation’s top trade official said Thursday that a final agreement on a massive Asia-Pacific deal won't be in the offing next month.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanUS will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations MORE confirmed that, as expected, a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement won't be announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next month in Beijing.

"No. We do not expect to have a final agreement on TPP at APEC,” Froman said at the Washington Ideas Forum in Washington.

“APEC will be an opportunity when all the TPP leaders will be present, so it’s a good opportunity for them to have conversations with each other about TPP and about whatever outstanding issues are left, and give more political impetus to getting it done.”

President Obama is planning to attend APEC and is expected to discuss a way forward on the long-awaited trade deal with several leaders during his trip.

Negotiators of the 12-nation TPP wrapped up their most recent batch of talks earlier this week in Sydney.

Meanwhile, discussions have continued on nearly a daily basis between the U.S. and Japan on resolving their differences. The U.S., along with other nations, are pushing Japanese leaders to open their auto and agricultural markets.

On another hot topic, Froman said that Congress should move trade promotion authority with Democratic and Republican support.

“The big thing is that we move forward with Congress on a bipartisan basis, where you have as broad bipartisan support as possible,” he said.

Trade promotion authority, also known as fast-track helps move trade deals through Congress on an up or down vote.

There is little hope, at this point, that Congress would take up a fast-track bill after the elections and before the new Congress starts.