• Reuters

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Senior U.S. lawmakers reached agreement on Thursday on a bill to give the White House “fast track” authority to negotiate a trade pact with 11 other Pacific nations that is central to President Barack Obama’s strategic shift toward Asia.

The agreement sets the stage for a tough legislative battle over Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would connect a dozen economies by cutting trade barriers and harmonizing standards in a deal covering two-fifths of the world economy and a third of global trade.

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