Leaders in the U.S. Congress said Thursday they have reached a deal on legislation that, if approved, “would speed consideration of President Obama’s trade agenda.”

As The Hill reports, “The fast-track legislation, formally known as trade promotion authority, would make it easier for the administration to negotiate trade deals by preventing Congress from amending them.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership  — known as TPP — would be the biggest trade deal for America since NAFTA with Mexico and Canada back in the 1990s. The TPP would apply to 11 Latin American and Asian countries.

Congressman Mark Takai in interview with Chad. 24 feb 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Congressman Mark Takai.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Obama, a Democrat, is in the unusual position of favoring the act along with the many Republicans who control Congress.

The Hill, however, points out that Democrats are divided over the deal.

Mark Takai of Hawaii, meanwhile, doesn’t like the fast-track authority component of the TPP deal.

“Implementation of the same old fast track authority will severely limit Congress’ role in trade negotiations and puts millions of good-paying American jobs at risk,” the representative of the 1st Congressional District said in a statement following the news of the deal. “The U.S. economy does not need free trade, we need fair trade.”

Takai said that a recent trip to Asian made “crystal clear” his opposition to TPA (it stands for Trade Promotion Authority), which is the fast-track component of the TPP.

The TPA also applies to other trade agreements.

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