Business groups urge Congress to pass TPP this year

Business groups urge Congress to pass TPP this year
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Three powerful business groups on Thursday called on President Obama and congressional Republican and Democratic leaders to redouble their efforts to pass an expansive Asia-Pacific trade agreement by year’s end.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable sent a letter saying that failing to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) risks U.S. economic growth, jobs and leadership.

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“Many foreign governments are completing their own trade agreements that create advantages for their industries and workers at the expense of ours,” wrote Chamber President Thomas Donohue, BRT President John Engler and NAM President Jay Timmons.

“America is already losing opportunities and market share where we have failed to put in place our own trade agreements that reflect our own high standards, and we will continue to fall further behind without the TPP,” they wrote. 

The business groups have been ramping up their efforts to push TPP through Congress this year, from lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill to holding local events across the country. 

Congressional leaders have said that the earliest lawmakers would consider the TPP is in the lame-duck session after the November election. 

But sharp-edged anti-trade rhetoric in the Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns are making the effort to pass the TPP before the president leaves office even more difficult. 

Still, top trade lawmakers such as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills Expiring tax breaks set off year-end scramble MORE (R-Texas) have said that if the Obama administration is willing to address and resolve their issues with the sweeping agreement, they would like to pass the deal. 

The business leaders argue that the TPP between the United States and 11 other nations, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, "will further open up this rapidly growing Asia-Pacific market, enabling U.S. businesses and workers to sell more American-made goods and services."

The deal contains provisions to stop digital protectionism and strengthen intellectual property rights.

"The TPP is critical to promoting U.S. economic and strategic leadership in the Asia-Pacific region and globally," they wrote.

"This U.S. trade agreement sets strong, enforceable rules for U.S. trade with the TPP countries and will help create a fairer international trading system."