The US Senate has passed legislation that will help President Barack Obama seal a Pacific Rim trade pact.
Senators voted 60 to 38 to approve fast track authority, which will allow the White House to send trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to Congress to support or reject, but not amend.
The bill now goes to Mr Obama to be signed into law.
TPP supporter Stephen Jacobi said as a result of the vote other nations involved in the talks, including New Zealand, could get on with the real business of negotiating the deal.
He said negotiators would be able to concentrate on the toughest remaining issues, including access to the politically sensitive agricultural markets of Japan, Canada and the US, as well as pharmaceutical patent protections.
Trade ministers reportedly say countries could wrap up the TPP in the next few weeks but Mr Jacobi said it could take months to reach an agreement.
Nations in the 12-country trade negotiations had wanted the US fast-track legislation enacted before finalising any agreement. Many would not agree on a deal without the fast-track approval as Congress could then have unpicked any agreement.
The legislation lets lawmakers set negotiating objectives for trade deals but restricts them to yes-or-no votes on final agreements.