The 89th Annual World Trade Week began this week in Los Angeles. During some of the events that I attended, members of the audience were asked to encourage their congress members to support three words–Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). What is TPA? Why is TPA so important?
Trade promotion authority is significant, because it gives U.S. Congress the authority to establish guidelines that the Executive branch must follow as it pursues free trade agreements.
Here are five things that you need to know so that when you meet a bunch of a trade policy wonks like me, you will have the conversation under control.
- TPA was first established under the Trade Act of 1974 and was last renewed from 2002-2007;
- U.S. Congress offers guidance to the President on trade policy priorities and negotiating objectives;
- The Administration is given the power to enter into and negotiate free trade agreements;
- U.S. Congress can only vote up or down on free trade agreements following negotiations but cannot amend them;
- The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 was put forward by Senator Max Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp to renew TPA for President Obama so that current trade negotiations can conclude successfully.
Although President Obama does not have trade promotion authority, the United States still entered into negotiations for two large trade deals–Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
So if trade promotion authority is so important, why are some less eager to support it? Find out in my next blog post.
- In N.C., Obama finds unlikely support on trade authority, The Charlotte Observer, May 7, 2015
- Deal Reached on Fast-Track Authority for Obama on Trade Accord, NY Times, April 16, 2015
[Note: This blog post has been revised from its original posting on January 30, 2014.]
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