WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill to move trade deals quickly through Congress, opening the door to sealing a major Pacific trade pact with major implications for the auto industry.
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.
Passing the so-called fast-track authority has been viewed as a key step needed to wrap up two blockbuster free trade deals -- one with Pacific Rim nations and another with the European Union -- that are critical pieces of President Obama’s economic agenda and have major implications for the auto industry.
“This is a smart, bipartisan compromise that will help move America forward,” said Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch.
Trade groups representing foreign automakers and their U.S. dealers lauded the bill’s introduction, and called for congress to pass the bill swiftly.
“Open trade and investment policies have encouraged international automakers to put down deep roots in America, creating a strong manufacturing base that supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” John Bozzella, CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, said in a statement. Global Automakers represents import automakers in the U.S. including Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai and Kia.
Reuters and Ryan Beene contributed to this report.