Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue held off on endorsing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade deal the White House recently concluded negotiations on, stating that even he was not certain what was in the fine print of the deal. The Chamber is one of the leading advocates for free-trade policies, and its support will be crucial to getting the deal approved by Congress.
"Nobody has seen it. Nobody has read it. Nobody has read the sidebars. While we are supporting the process, we look forward to reading the agreement. We find that works best. When we get there, we'll be a participant in bringing that, I hope, to a positive conclusion," Donohue told reporters Friday during a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
It was a surprisingly hesitant response from Donohue, who also said the chamber "had worked with others in completing the Pacific agreement" and thus would be in a better position than most to know what was included the final text.
The White House officially concluded negotiations on the deal Oct. 5. However, a complete text has not been made public. U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman told reporters on Oct. 7 that they were still "working with the other countries to finalize the details of the text" and they hoped to have it released "as soon as possible." He indicated it would be released by early November. The administration must provide 60 days of public notice before signing a trade deal, at which point it is submitted to Congress for approval.