By :KRISTA HUGHES
A majority of Americans support new trade deals, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday, even as President Barack Obama struggles to win support for legislation key to sealing a signature Pacific Rim trade agreement.
The House of Representatives is expected to consider a bill to speed trade deals through Congress in June, after it passed the Senate by a comfortable margin.
Unions and anti-trade activists are pressuring lawmakers to vote against so-called fast-track authority, which trading partners say is needed to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), central to the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted May 21-27, found that 56 percent of Americans support new trade deals to promote the sale of U.S. goods overseas, with just 13 percent opposed. Thirty-one percent were undecided. Respondents were not specifically asked about fast-track legislation or the TPP but instead were broadly asked about their views on international agreements.
The result is similar to support in January after President Barack Obama pushed his trade agenda in his annual State of the Union address to Congress. That agenda also includes an ambitious deal with Europe.
Fast-track, which restricts lawmakers to a yes-or-no vote on trade deals, will require a simple majority of the House to pass.
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