The business community is urging Congress to act swiftly to pass legislation giving the president fast-track ability to negotiate free trade agreements. Such legislation would require Congress to make up-or-down votes on ratification of trade pacts without amendment.
In a letter to the leadership of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees seeking passage of Trade Promotion Authority, USCIB and the other members of the Trade Benefits America coalition urged passage of legislation before the end of the year, saying that, without action, high-level trade talks would be jeopardized.
“Currently, the United States is pursuing an exceptionally ambitious and diverse range of trade negotiations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the Trade in Services Agreement,” coalition members wrote. “These negotiations involve important 21st century trade issues – such as foreign restrictions on cross-border data flows, unfair competition from state-owned enterprises, intellectual property rights, forced localization barriers to trade and investment, and international regulatory cooperation – that have evolved or emerged since 2002. By updating and passing TPA, Congress can help shape the negotiating goals pursued by U.S. negotiators while also strengthening the hand of those negotiators in achieving solid outcomes favorable to the United States.”
The letter said passage of TPA would strengthen the partnership between Congress and the executive branch – which the coalition said “has long proven critical to negotiating U.S. trade agreements and getting them implemented by Congress” – thereby helping to ensure a meaningful role for legislators at all stages of trade negotiations.
Staff contact: Rob Mulligan