U.S. optimistic global trade deal will come into force this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States expects a global deal to cut customs red tape and streamline import procedures to come into force this year, a senior trade official said on Wednesday. Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for World Trade Organization and Multilateral Affairs, said Washington was "pretty confident" the deal agreed in Bali in 2013 would be up and running by year-end. "It's quite realistic to expect that the trade facilitation agreement can come into force by the end of the year," he told a Washington International Trade Association event. "It's not a hard deadline, but it's achievable." At least two-thirds of WTO members, or more than 100 countries, must ratify the deal before it can take effect. The United States is one of three nations which have already formally accepted the pact, which economists say will add as much as $1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the global economy. Virginia Brown, director of trade and regulatory reforms at USAID, said the aid agency was ready to work with countries on implementation steps, which in many cases require lawmakers' approval. "Our bread and butter is drafting that legislation and getting it through the legislative process," she said. (Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Alan Crosby)