By Jonathan Davies

US President Barack Obama has suffered a huge setback in his bid to secure trade pacts with Europe and Asia after attempts to fast-tracks the bills were voted down in the Senate.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are aimed at boosting economies by reducing trade and foreign investment barriers.

Critics say TTIP - the trade partnership between the US and EU - will reduce governments' right and ability to regulate in the public interest. Some have suggested that it could pave the way to privatising the NHS.

But Obama's bid to see the bills fast-tracked through Congress were defeated as Senators voted 52-48 in favour. Despite achieving a majority, it needed 60 votes to win.

A government spokesperson in Japan said that the ability to fast-track the Asia focused TPP was crucial to its success.