Froman: Congress can pass the Pacific Rim trade deal

Froman: Congress can pass the Pacific Rim trade deal
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The nation's top trade official on Tuesday expressed optimism that Congress can pass a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact this year. 

U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanUS trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report Overnight Finance: Trump hits China on currency manipulation, countering Treasury | Trump taps two for Fed board | Tax deadline revives fight over GOP overhaul | Justices set to hear online sales tax case Froman joins Mastercard to oversee global business expansion MORE said that if House and Senate Republican leaders decide to consider the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal after the November elections then the votes will be there for the agreement.

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"If they bring it forward, I think we can get the votes there," Froman said on CNBC’s ”Squawk Box." 

Froman said he is "seeing a lot of support for this agreement" on Capitol Hill as lawmakers begin to fully understand the wide-ranging deal's benefits.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFox News has covered Ocasio-Cortez more than any 2020 Dem besides Warren: analysis Durbin after reading Green New Deal: 'What in the heck is this?' Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle MORE (R-Ky.) have each said that they don't think the TPP has enough support to come up for consideration during  the lame-duck session.

But the Obama administration is still working to resolve several issues with congressional Republicans, including a way forward on intellectual property protections for high-tech medicines called biologics, that they hope will generate more support for the TPP deal. 

While Froman acknowledged that there there are legitimate concerns about expanded trade, he argued that the United States can't stand on the sidelines.

"The rest of the world isn’t just standing by" as the United States decides whether to take up the TPP this year, Froman said.

"They're going to move ahead and get access to these markets at our expense," he said. "Our market share is actually going to decline in some of these fast-growing, large markets."

Without the TPP, Froman warned that China, which isn't part of the TPP, will take the reins and write the rules of the global economy.

"It is awfully important that we show leadership and that we’re on the field," he said. 

The TPP has ridden a rocky road since the text was released a year ago. And that path has only gotten bumpier with both presidential candidates — Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it Harris adds key Clinton aide, women of color to 2020 campaign: report Democrats more likely Trump's foil, than to foil Trump MORE — opposing the agreement or any efforts to pass the deal during the lame-duck session after the November elections.

Business, agriculture and manufacturing groups largely back the agreement with most Democrats and labor unions and environmental groups stand firmly in opposition. 

"Trade agreements … [are] how we shape the global economy and make sure that we have level playing field to compete," Froman said.