[Daily News| November 03, 2016 |Inside US Trade]
Shortly before Congress returns for a lame-duck session, the Obama administration appears close to a solution that could satisfy Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on his main Trans-Pacific Partnership concern, clarifying each country's commitments on the market exclusivity period for biologics.
The "fix," sources said, could move previously undeclared lawmakers to support the TPP implementing bill in the lame-duck.
Sources told Inside U.S. Trade that Hatch's team has been working "very hard behind the scenes" with TPP partners to arrive at a solution that would not require reopening the deal or force other TPP countries to take on additional commitments.
One source said that while members of Hatch's trade staff -- who have been traveling to TPP countries, most recently Japan -- have been talking "very cryptically" about the issue, it is clear they are working on biologics.
"They either have a solution or are on the cusp of being done," another source told Inside U.S. Trade. "There seems to be a process underway -- a concerted effort on the part of Senator Hatch to bridge the divide, to find a way where they can move forward."