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From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.
A United States congressional committee has passed a bill aimed at easing approval of future U.S. trade agreements with other countries. The Senate Finance Committee recently approved Trade Promotion Authority, also known as “fast track” legislation. The TPA confirms the power of the president to negotiate trade agreements. The measure sets congressional goals and guidance for trade negotiations. But once an agreement is reached, lawmakers cannot propose amendments. The bill now goes to the full Senate, where heated debate is expected. The United States is currently active in negotiations on two major trade agreements. One is the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. Those talks involve the United States and 11 other nations around the Pacific Ocean. President Barack Obama has said the United States has to shape the rules so that American businesses and workers can compete in Asian markets. If the U.S. does not act, he says, China will. The other agreement is with the European Union. It is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or T-TIP. Trade promotion authority is considered important to passage of both trade deals. The aim of the T-TIP agreement is to remove tariffs, simplify trade processes and remove restrictions on trade in areas that affect 800 million people. Supporters say the agreement could create 13 million jobs on either side of the Atlantic. Opponents disagree. Recently, thousands of people demonstrated in Germany and other countries to protest the trade agreement.