McConnell: Tobacco should not be excluded from trade pact
In this Aug. 1, 2015, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to the attendees at the Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky. (AP photo)
SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (AP) -
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell touts himself as a free trade advocate, but he's warning that how tobacco is treated in a potential Pacific Rim trade deal could influence his stance on an agreement.
The Kentucky Republican said Tuesday that excluding a commodity from the deal would be a bad idea.
Kentucky is the nation's top burley tobacco producer.
Trade ministers from a dozen Pacific Rim nations are trying to reach a trade agreement covering nearly 40 percent of the global economy.
McConnell pushed for passage of a bill giving President Barack Obama greater authority to negotiate trade deals. The bill gives Congress the right to approve or reject trade agreements but not change them.
McConnell also says climate change should not become an issue in the trade negotiations.
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