MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, leaders of two key panels in the US Congress agreed on a deal that would "fast track" President Barack Obama's authority to finish negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty.
If the bill is passed, it will block Congress from amending the trade agreement while keeping its authority to vote it down.
Director of the Russian APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Study Center Natalia Stapran commented on the issue:
"The United States are speeding up the TPP project realization on the back of China's successful initiatives to create the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) project of regional comprehensive partnership (ASEAN+6). Obama reminded the Congress of this, saying that it is the United States who should agree global trade deals, not China."
The United States is currently in talks with 11 other Asia-Pacific nations, including Australia, Canada and Japan, on the proposed TTP agreement.
The TTP negotiations coincide with China's plans to set up the $50-billion AIIB, with a view to financing infrastructure projects in Asia. Earlier this week, the bank approved 57 countries, including Russia and a host of European nations, as its founding members.
Meanwhile, the 10 ASEAN member states are looking to sign a comprehensive free trade agreement with six other countries in the region, including Australia, China and India, as well as Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.