The prospects for a congressional vote this year on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement have been boosted recently by several prominent politicians.

Recently, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade matters, told reporters the upper chamber could consider the TPP during a “lame duck” session – the period after the Nov. 8 election and the end of the year. Wednesday House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, echoed Hatch in an interview with the Texas Tribune.

“What I’m absolutely certain of is, every day we delay in accessing that Asia-Pacific region, the more we lose economically,” he told the paper. “I think it is a mistake to withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership because if America abandons the Asia-Pacific markets, we’ll lose.” Also this week, Bill Clinton told CNBC, “The geopolitical reasons for [TPP] from America’s point of view are pretty clear.”

Although Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has expressed opposition to the deal, the former president seemed to indicate she would like to make changes to the agreement but would support it as president. Also weighing in on the agreement this week was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

“Japan and the U.S. must each obtain domestic approval of the TPP as soon as possible for its early entry into force,” he said. “Success or failure will sway the direction of the global free-trade system, and the strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific.”

The TPP includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which combined have 800 million consumers and account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Getting Congress to take up and pass the agreement this year is the top priority of NPPC, which has called the trade deal the biggest commercial opportunity ever for pork producers and a “landscape-changing” agreement.

According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the TPP will cause U.S. pork exports to the 11 TPP partner countries to increase exponentially, creating 10,000 new U.S. jobs tied to those exports.

Original article Sept. 26, Pork Network

TPP prospects get a little brighter