President Obama has proposed legislation that would grant him negotiating authority while engaging in trade talks. Trade promotion authority, or fast-track, is important because leaders in other countries won't risk political capital selling trade deals to their constituents knowing Washington could then amend the pact after its completed, Bloomberg reported.
White & Case attorney Scott Lincicome said that trade bills "just don't get done," without fast track.
Delays that push the debate closer to the presidential campaign season could make it even harder to pass, Lincicome said.
"Time is the enemy of free trade negotiations," Lincicome said.
Some nations may back out to focus on deals with other countries besides the US if the negotiations aren't concluded before 2017, he said.