With the Senate vote today (60-38) on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), “fast track” authority now goes to the President for his signature.
“Fast-track authority is critical for up-coming trade agreements to be considered in a timely manner and be voted up or down without amendments,” said Frances B. Smith, CEI Adjunct Fellow. “Without TPA, other parties to the agreement would have no assurance that the deals they reached during negotiations would be upheld, which would undermine the credibility of the U.S. in negotiating trade agreements.”
Under TPA, the President negotiates trade agreements in consultation with Congress and submits them to Congress for an up or down vote with no amendments. In return, Congress sets up the objectives that trade agreements must meet and the timetables that must be met.
The current negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – nearing completion – would be the first trade agreement to be considered under the new TPA. That pact would include 11 other countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam) that represent 40 percent of the world market.
“The Asia-Pacific region represented by the TPP countries represent important markets for U.S. goods and services,” said Smith. “Both American producers and consumers should gain from this agreement. The U.S. needs to engage with these countries for both economic and security reasons. Trade Promotion Authority provides the process to ensure that the agreement will be considered by Congress in a timely manner.”