U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today announced that the Trump administration has requested renewal of trade promotion authority (TPA) pursuant to bipartisan legislation for promoting trade agreements between the United States and its trading partners. The current three-year period for TPA expires 1 July 2018.
As stated in a Finance release, Chairman Hatch “welcomes the administration’s request, as long as they commit to use the extension to seek new, market expanding trade negotiations consistent with the high standard statutory trade negotiating objectives.”
The TPA streamlines legislative consideration of trade agreements negotiated by the executive branch. When the administration negotiates trade deals that meet the standards set by TPA and the administration meets the requirements to consult with Congress and the public, Congress can give, under the TPA, those agreements an up-or-down vote by a simple majority, without amendments. This process allows for trade agreements to be considered in a timely manner.
In the 2015 TPA legislation, Congress updated its objectives to reflect new objectives including to address manipulation and barriers to innovation and digital trade. TPA requires the U.S. Trade Representative to consult with the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and other congressional committees throughout the entire trade negotiation process. To this end, TPA 2015 includes multiple mechanisms for disqualifying a trade agreement from TPA procedures if it fails to meet the law’s transparency and consultation requirements.
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