The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has begun an investigation into the likely impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, although its timelines could slow the Obama administration's plans to submit legislation implementing the deal to Congress early next year.

The investigation on the 'Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors', was requested by the US Trade Representative earlier this month.

The USITC's report is due to the President and the Congress no more than 105 days after the President signs the Agreement, which he can do 90 days after he notifies Congress of his intent to do so. The President notified Congress on 5 November 2015, of his intent to enter into the Agreement.

This takes the anticipated date for transmitting its report to 18 May 2016.

While US trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg points out the ITC could submit its report before 18 May, its investigation is likely to take several months just to conclude the process of gathering information.

It adds: "The ITC's economic impact analysis of an FTA is typically submitted to Congress at the same time as implementing legislation, but this is not a legal requirement. The White House could therefore conceivably submit such legislation before the ITC's report is done, though lawmakers would undoubtedly wait to hold a final vote on it until they receive that report."