U.S. lawmakers present fast-track trade bill

U.S. lawmakers present fast-track trade bill

© Gary Cameron / Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill to move trade deals quickly through Congress, opening the door to sealing a major Pacific trade pact.

The bill sets new objectives for U.S. trade negotiators, including directing trading partners to avoid manipulating their currencies, in exchange for a yes-or-no vote in Congress.

“This is a smart, bipartisan compromise that will help move America forward," said Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.

"The renewal of TPA will help American workers and job creators unlock new opportunities for growth and promote better, higher-paying jobs here at home."

Introducing the bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives sends a positive signal about the Trans-Pacific Partnership ahead of a planned visit to Washington in late April by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan and other TPP partners have said it is vital to have fast track authority, which gives trading partners certainty that agreements will not be picked apart.

But the bill faces opposition from some conservative Republicans opposed to delegating power to the White House, as well as Democrats worried about the impact on jobs and the environment.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Dan Grebler and Chizu Nomiyama)