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. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report 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 RyanHill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Biden fires back at Sanders on Social Security Warren now also knocking Biden on Social Security MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems to present case on abuse of power on trial's third day The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' 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 TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti defends Tulsi Gabbard's lawsuit against Hillary Clinton Trump to hold rally on eve of New Hampshire primary 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.