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 RyanFEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday Paul Ryan joins University of Notre Dame faculty MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release McConnell touts Trump support, Supreme Court fights in reelection video Why Ken Cuccinelli should be Trump's choice for DHS 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 TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcAuliffe says he won't run for president in 2020 Chuck Todd slams reports that DOJ briefed Trump on Mueller findings: 'This is actual collusion' Crowdfund campaign to aid historically black churches hit by fires raises over M 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.