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The Path Forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Tim Reif, USTR Chief Transparency Officer

Today, the Obama administration released the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as negotiated by the United States and 11 partner countries across the Asia-Pacific region. It’s a historic agreement, and releasing it to the public is an important milestone; but it is also just one step in an extensive process of consultation and consideration provided for by the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) -- bipartisan legislation that Congress passed and President Obama signed into law this year.

The agreement boosts Made-in-America exports, supports higher-paying American jobs, and levels the playing field so that Americans can compete and win in the global economy. And in addition to advancing our economic interests, TPP reflects our values—promoting fairer competition, a cleaner environment, and stronger protections for workers across nearly 40 percent of the global economy.

In order to help make sure Americans and Congress can fully evaluate what’s in TPP for themselves, we released the text today alongside an array of resources designed to increase the public’s understanding of what’s in the deal.

So far, the Obama administration has made the following TPP materials public:

On top of this, we’ll be responding directly to the American people and their representatives in Congress—through travel, real-time conversations online, conference calls, and briefings for Congress, stakeholders, and the press. So we hope you’ll follow @USTradeRep and the Director of the White House Business Council @Diana44 on Twitter, and check out www.USTR.gov/TPP as well as WhiteHouse.gov/Trade.

We also know that there is interest in a roadmap for the TPP process going forward, as set forth by the TPA. The next steps will allow for a period of careful and extensive review and consideration before TPP is signed by President Obama, and before Congress then votes on the agreement. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. 90 Days for Public and Congressional Review Prior to the President Signing the Agreement: While TPA requires the full text of the agreement to be publicly available for 60 days before the President signs the agreement, we have now taken the additional step of committing to have the text publicly available for longer than required—a full 90 days—before the President signs TPP.
  2. Additional Resource for Analysis and Review: Once the President signs TPP, the International Trade Commission (ITC) will conduct a comprehensive analysis of the potential economic impact of TPP that will also be made available to the public.
  3. Submitting Legislative Text: In advance of Congressional consideration, the Administration will submit draft legislative text to Congress that would implement the agreement, if passed by both houses of Congress. The legislative clock for consideration will not begin until the Administration sends final legislative text to Capitol Hill.
  4. Congressional Consideration: After legislation is submitted, per the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, the House of Representatives and the Senate each have a certain number of legislative days to consider the legislation in the committees of jurisdiction and on the floors of each chamber.   
  5. Presidential Notification: If both houses of Congress pass the TPP implementation bill, the President then is empowered to sign the implementing legislation into law. The President will notify Congress in writing 30 days in advance of the agreement taking effect with respect to each of the 11 other TPP countries, once the President determines that each meets its  obligations under TPP.

We are looking forward to many months of discussion and examination of the TPP text. We fully expect that once Congress and the American people have conducted a careful and thorough review of the agreement, it will earn strong, bipartisan support.