From Inside US Trade; February 16, 2016
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) over the weekend held open the possibility that Congress will never pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by saying he does not know if and when there will be enough votes to pass it. He also publicly spelled out his problems with the agreement for the first time, citing provisions on cross-border data flows, dairy and biologic drugs.
In a Feb. 14 interview on Fox News, Ryan reiterated his previous statements that there are currently not enough votes to pass TPP in Congress. “And I don’t see where these votes are right now and I’m just being honest with people about that, and I don’t know if and when that’s going to change,” he said.
He said the votes are not there at the moment because the administration negotiated an agreement with “flaws” in it. “They’re going to have to figure those out and work those out if they want to get the votes to pass in Congress, which I don’t see the votes there right now,” he said.
Ryan stressed that he would not bring up TPP if the votes are not there because he is not the “dictator of the House” or the “micromanager of the House.”
When pressed on what exactly needs to be changed in TPP, Ryan said: “I think there are things that need to be addressed. I won’t go into all the details, but cross-border data flows, dairy, there are biologics, intellectual property rights protection.”
Cross-border data flows likely refers to the exclusion of the financial sector from a general ban in TPP on government requirements that data be stored on local servers.
U.S. financial services companies and their congressional allies have been pressing the administration to change that provision in TPP and future trade agreement. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew last week said his department is talking with financial services firms and independent U.S. financial regulators to work through the industry’s objections to that exclusion.