17 Apr 2015

Obama to get fast-track authority for TPP

2:36 pm on 17 April 2015

The White House is a step closer to signing the Trans Pacific Partnership, which involves 12 Asia-Pacific nations including New Zealand.

If the deal is successfully completed, it would be one of the largest free trade deals in history.

US President Barack Obama delivers his 2015 State of the Union Address to Congress.

US President Barack Obama (file) Photo: AFP

The US Congress has agreed to give President Barack Obama the authority to fast-track its signing.

However, the US commitment still has hurdles to overcome.

The agreement, struck by the leaders of the tax-writing committees, will grant the president so-called trade promotion authority, which will limit lawmakers to taking only a 'yes' or 'no' vote on any eventual trade deal without any power to amend it.

The Republican chairs of the Senate's Finance Committee and Ways and Means Committee had to agree to stringent requirements for the trade deal to win over the ranking Democrat on the finance panel.

These concessions have still failed to win over many Democrats, who are opposing the deal.

The other countries involved in the deal include Canada, Australia and Japan.

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