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Amid rancor, a chance for U.S. action on trade bill
Date: 5/22/2013
Written By: Reuters

Excerpt: Major U.S. trade legislation appears increasingly likely to clear Congress this year despite an intensely partisan atmosphere made worse by scandals plaguing President Barack Obama's administration.

 U.S. business groups are preparing to push for the bill, which would give the White House enhanced ability to negotiate trade deals and set out U.S. negotiating goals on issues ranging from cross-border electronic data flows to global supply chains and potentially even foreign currency practices.

"I really think Congress is about ready to do something on trade," said Scott Miller, a trade policy specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, referring to a bill known as trade promotion authority, or TPA.

Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents major exporters like Boeing and Caterpillar, said he was optimistic that Congress could pass a bipartisan TPA bill by the end of the year.

"They all know they have to do it. You can't be a modern country in today's trading system and not have authority to negotiate these things," Reinsch said.