Trade chief 'senses end point' on Japan talks, Conaway says
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2015 - U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman delivered an upbeat private briefing to members of the House Agriculture Committee on the status of negotiations over a Pacific Rim trade agreement, said the panel's chairman, Mike Conaway.
Conaway, R-Texas, declined to discuss details of what Froman said about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations but said that Froman talked “encouragingly” about the critical discussions with Japan and Canada about their barriers to U.S. agricultural products.
Froman “senses an end point coming with respect to the deal and some time in the no-too-distant future will be able to pull the trigger on it,” Conaway told Agri-Pulse.
But no deal is imminent, Conaway said. “Something inside of a year perhaps, we'll see.”
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During the meeting, the committee members also asked Froman about trade promotion authority, legislation that would allow Congress only an up-or-down vote on a trade agreement; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union; and issues related to the World Trade Organization.
Conaway said the briefing served an education purpose. “My intent was to make sure our members were as educated as they need to be at the point in time they need to decide where they are going to be on trade promotion authority and on the TPP or TTIP,” he said. “The more facts they have the better they are talking about this with constituents.