Federal panel: Pacific trade pact would deliver modest gains

WASHINGTON – An independent federal agency says a contentious trade deal between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations would give the U.S. economy a modest boost.

The U.S. International Trade Commission says the Trans-Pacific Partnership would add slightly to the U.S. economy and create jobs. It says exports would increase, but imports would rise more.

The deal, requiring approval from Congress, would tear down trade barriers and encourage investment between the countries that signed it. Critics worry it would cost jobs by exposing American workers to low-wage competition from countries such as Vietnam.

The ITC analysis is required by law and is supposed to signal the start of congressional debate on the TPP. But lawmakers likely won’t act before the Nov. 8 election. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both oppose the pact.