The White House warned Thursday that failure to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact will put billions of dollars in US exports at risk to competition from China.
Without TPP, which has been a hot-button issue in the US presidential campaign, China and other countries could move ahead with a rival regional trade pact, leaving US goods at a disadvantage.
This could put at risk 35 US export sectors that send $5.3 billion in goods to Japan's market alone, and employ 4.6 million workers, a White House official said.
The United States negotiated the TPP with 11 Pacific Rim countries, but the agreement's implementation has been stalled by the US Congress, which has not ratified it.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters the administration is committed to trying to get the deal approved in the last session of Congress after Tuesday's elections and before the next president takes office.
"We certainly have not given up on the lame duck. That is our focus right now. President Obama has made it abundantly clear that we are very much committed to getting this done," Froman said in a conference call.
"The world is not going to sit on sidelines but is going to move on without us."
Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, said a new study measures the impact of the potential for lost US exports to Japan, once a new regional trade deal lowers tariffs for Chinese goods.
The report looks at the Beijing-promoted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership currently being negotiated in the Asia-Pacific region, which has 16 members, including seven that also are in the TPP.
More than $225 billion in US exports -- roughly 10 percent of total US exports to the world -- go to the seven countries that are in TPP and also in RCEP. So Furman said the CEA study's estimates of harm to US industry are very conservative.