US Trade Representative Michael Froman urged the nation’s Congress to back free trade agreements currently under negotiation with Asian Pacific and European partners on January 27.

Speaking at hearings with the Senate and House finance committees, Froman said along with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with 11 Asian countries, the Obama administration is engaged in negotiation for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union.

If the two agreements are formalised, they will grant US enterprises access to the two most important markets for the US in the 21st century, said the top trade official.

He added that the agreements would not only promote local goods and services, generate more jobs, and improve income for US employees, but also contribute to initiatives in intellectual property, environmental protection, digital trade, and employee rights protection.

Representative Froman said the administration is looking to lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation streamlining approval processes for trade agreements, including the extension of fast-track negotiation right to the Obama administration.

The hearings took place as TPP negotiators from the US and 11 another countries are holding a series of consultation meetings in New York.

The TPP negotiations started in 2005, participated by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US, and Vietnam.

Once signed, the agreement will designate a free trade area serving a population of 800 million, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the world economic output.-VNA