[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] voted 286-138 [roll call] to approve a trade law that provides assistance to workers who lose their jobs to international trade and renews President Barack Obama’s authority to negotiate trade deals on behalf of the country. It also establishes programs to increase trade between the US and Africa. The Trade Preferences Extension Act [text, PDF; materials] includes measures Obama has long pushed for and is seen as clearing the way for him to complete negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) later this year. The bill was largely supported by Republicans as part of a compromise, but opposed by Democrats [press releases] and labor union groups who say it still won’t do enough to protect US jobs. Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
The TPP is a proposed international trade agreement being negotiated by 12 countries: the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Chile, Peru and Brunei. The Obama Administration claims the TPP [TPP website] will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade and facilitate the development of production and supply chains among member countries. If passed, the TPP would join several other large trade agreements [JURIST reports] the US has with various countries.