The nation’s top business executives are expected to support a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade deal, providing a major boost for the agreement’s chances to pass Congress next year.

Leaders of the Business Roundtable, which has yet to take a formal position on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said on Tuesday that they are inclined to back the deal and press congressional lawmakers to support and pass the pact.

{mosads}“You should expect BRT to support TPP,” said Randall Stephenson, chairman of BRT and CEO of AT&T on a conference call with reporters.

Support for TPP by influential business groups like the BRT and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is crucial to its passage on Capitol Hill where lawmakers are still poring over the text of the agreement, which has been out for about a month.

BRT is holding a CEO meeting on Wednesday to discuss major policy issues, including trade and the TPP.

Stephenson said that passing TPP would broadly help its members, a majority of whom are among the nation’s largest exporters.

But to gain that support, he said that the White House will need to address BRT’s members’ concerns about the deal, which was completed in early October.

John Engler, BRT’s president, said that he is confident that the Obama administration will work out those issues and gain the group’s support. 

He expects that BRT will actively participate in all efforts of the Trade Benefits America Coalition to promote the agreement in Congress and across the nation. 

BRT is one of the coalition’s leaders, which includes the Chamber of Commerce and NAM. 

Tags Business Roundtable John Engler National Association of Manufacturers Randall Stephenson Trans-Pacific Partnership U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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