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    US President Barack Obama

    Obama Signs Fast-Track Authority Legislation to Advance Free Trade

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    US President Barack Obama has signed on Monday the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation giving him fast-track authority to negotiate international free trade agreements.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The signing of the TPP will secure commercial agreements between the United States and 11 other countries, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico and Malaysia among them. The deal is expected to cover about 40 percent of the global economy.

    Under the new legislation, the US president will submit free trade agreements to the US Congress, which will vote for or against them without adding amendments.

    “The first [TPA agreement], will help us pass new 21 century trade agreements with higher standards and tougher protections than those that we have signed before,” Obama said in a bill signing ceremony.

    Obama has also signed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA) that provides federal subsidies for US workers who lose their jobs as a result of free-trade deals.

    On Wednesday, the US Senate voted 60 to 38 passing the TPA legislation that fast-tracks the president's authority to conclude the ongoing Trans-Pacific free trade agreements.

    The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have been ongoing for the past decade, but the contents of the prospective agreement have not been made public.

    “People want transparency in those agreements,” Obama said. “Under these authorization, these agreements will be posted on a website for a long period of time for people to scrutinize and take a look at.”

    US Senator Barbara Boxer and former Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin have previously slammed the Obama administration’s secrecy regarding the TPP.

    On May 12, Boxer argued there were many restrictions limiting members of Congress to look at the current text of the trade agreement.

    The signing of the TPP will secure commercial agreements between the United States and 11 other countries, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico and Malaysia among them. The deal is expected to cover about 40 percent of the global economy.

    Related:

    Senate Vote Ensures Passage of Obama's TPA Measure
    US House Passes Rule to Send New TPA Bill Back to Senate
    US House Narrowly Approves Measure to Vote on Free TPA
    Tags:
    free trade, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Barack Obama, United States
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