Will Congress ever make a decision about the Trans Pacific Partnership? Darci Vetter, the U.S. Trade Representative's Chief Agricultural Negotiator, says there's still time for this Congress to vote on the 12-nation trade deal.
"There is certainly time to run the trade promotion authority (TPA) process and the voting process for those trade agreements," says Vetter. "We're working very closely with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to talk through and answer questions about the deal and resolve any outstanding issues. If we can make progress there, then there's plenty of time during the lame duck session."
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election this November as well as 34 Senate seats. They will return after the election for one final "lame duck" session before the new president is inaugurated in January 2017.
In addition to the TPP, the U.S. is also in the middle of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) discussions, which involve the European Union. Right now, the United Kingdom is considering whether or not to remain a part of the E.U. British citizens will vote on the "Brexit" (for British exit) question on June 23.
It's a situation that Vetter is monitoring.
"There are a number of things happening in Europe right now. They're facing a crisis," she says. "I think all of those things actually make it more important that they focus on trade and how that can bolster their economy with or without the EU. We're watching that closely, but I don't think that's a determining factor as to whether we move forward."
Vetter Talks Trade Deals