TPP – Agreement Signed; Warnings of a Slow Congressional Process.  After the Thursday signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand, Ambassador Froman said the United States is developing a “full implementation plan” to make sure developing countries, such as Vietnam, uphold their obligations.

At a Tuesday meeting with President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) reiterated a congressional vote on the TPP deal should not happen until after the November elections, at the earliest.  In a floor speech on Wednesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) further cautioned:

No one should be under any illusions that, because the TPP is being signed [on 4 February], an up or down vote on the agreement is imminent or that our oversight responsibilities are at an end.  …  If history has taught us anything, it’s that this process can, and often does, take a very long time to complete.  In fact, it’s not an exaggeration – or even all that remarkable – to say that it can take years to get an agreement through Congress AFTER it is signed.

Customs Bill – Senate Action Expected Next Week.  Sources report the Senate will vote next week on the conference report of the Customs and Enforcement Bill, possibly on Thursday.  If approved, it will then head to President Obama’s desk for signature into law.

Electrify Africa Bill Heads to President Obama’s Desk.  The House passed the Electrify Africa bill (S. 2152) on Monday, sending the measure forward to President Obama for signature into law.  Over 600 million people – 70% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – lack access to electricity, stifling social and economic development in the region.  Once signed into law, Electrify Africa is designed to encourage U.S. and international development organizations to prioritize loans, assistance, and technical support to spark private investment in SSA projects that increase electricity access and reliability, and emphasize regulatory reform and commercial viability.

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