Roberts, Peterson say no TPP until after the election
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture today, but both Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said they don’t think it will be considered before the lame-duck session after the election.
Vilsack told the commissioners that each year TPP is not passed, the United States loses $77 billion in opportunities to export products.
But Roberts said members of Congress “are going through 5,000 pages and finding reasons they are not for it.”
He also said he has never seen a trade bill in which the president is not involved and that the president needs to sit down with congressional leaders to figure out what they need. But he added that if President Barack Obama “comes to the House … that throws up opposition.”
On a recent trip to Australia and Asia, Roberts said, he was told that if the United States does not approve the agreement, China will be coming right behind to offer an alternative agreement.
Roberts said in his speech that the future TPP depends on the results of the presidential election, and that it won’t come up until 2017. But when speaking to reporters, he said it is possible that it will come up in the lame-duck session after the election.
But Peterson said he believes that if it were brought up in the House today, it would fail.
Peterson noted that “a different type” of Republican has been elected in recent years compared with the pro-trade Republicans of the past. The recently elected Republicans won’t listen to the White House, he said.
Peterson also said he doubts that all 24 Democrats who voted for Trade Promotion Authority would vote for TPP.
Peterson, who has opposed most trade agreements, said he is still examining the agreement, but he considers it a “managed trade” agreement rather than a free trade agreement because it lowers tariffs over a period of time rather than eliminating them. F
–The Hagstrom Report
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