Froman Calls for Tough Decisions on TPP; Congressional Resistance Surfaces

Stating that “all eyes are on Japan,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told attendees at Thursday’s U.S.-Japan Business Council meeting that all Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) participants must make tough decisions and show the political will necessary to complete negotiations by the end of this year. More details from Froman’s remarks are available from NHK World. Overcoming Japan’s reluctance to eliminate tariffs on sensitive agricultural products continues to be discussed as one of the TPP’s biggest potential obstacles.

Opposition in Congress seemed to be the least of the Obama Administration’s concerns with regard to the TPP, but this week saw pushback from several different fronts. Leading members of the House Ways and Means Committee said their support for the TPP will be eroded if it does not include safeguards regarding currency manipulation – more details are included in this statement from Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

The TPP also came under fire from House Democrats, as 151 members issued a letter objecting to a “continued lack of adequate congressional consultation” on the proposed agreement. The letter also stated that the group will oppose legislation granting the Administration “fast track” trade promotion authority, which requires an up-or-down vote on free trade agreements as negotiated, without amendments from Congress.

Next steps for the TPP:
  • A meeting of top TPP negotiators will take place Nov. 19-24 in Salt Lake City.
  • The next round of ministerial talks is set for Dec. 7-9 in Singapore.