“Fast track” trade authority — will carry some baggage

According to news reports, President George Bush will ask Congress to renew fast-track trade authority — perhaps as soon as next week.

The Trade Promotion Act of 2002 expires at the end of June 2007. TPA gives the president the authority to negotiate trade deals and have them voted up or down by Congress without amendments.

However, Democratic Congressional leaders have said that to renew fast-track, the Administration would have to agree to include even more labor and environmental mandates in trade agreements.

Already, TPA includes stringent mandates that have been used to impose U.S.-style environmental and labor “regulations” on developing countries with which the U.S. has negotiated free trade agreements. See my earlier article on the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement.