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U.S. Senate majority leader says TPP won't get a vote this year

by August 25, 2016 General

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will not get a vote in Senate this year.

“The current agreement, the Trans-Pacific (Partnership), which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year,” McConnell said at the annual Kentucky State Farm Bureau Ham Breakfast.

But he signaled that the TPP deal could pass Congress during the next administration with some changes. “It can be massaged, changed, worked on during the next administration,” he said.

However, both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have come out against the 12-national trade deal.

“I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president,” Clinton said this month in a speech laying out her economic plans.

President Barack Obama has vowed to push Congress to approve the TPP deal during the so-called lame-duck session of Congress after the November general election, the final time window before he leaves White House on Jan. 20.

But many lawmakers have cast doubt on a vote for TPP in the lame-duck session. House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier this month that the TPP won’t get a vote in Congress this year because there isn’t enough support.

The TPP deal involves Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. It was formally signed by ministers from these 12 countries in February after more than five years’ negotiation.

The TPP now undergoes a two-year ratification period in which at least six countries, which account for 85 percent of the combined gross domestic production of the 12 TPP countries, must approve the final text for the deal to be implemented.