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Trade Priorities Act of 2014
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Federal Bill Extends President’s Authority to Negotiate Free Trade Agreements
The California Chamber of Commerce is supporting legislation introduced in Congress to renew the authority of the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate trade agreements.
The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 (TPA-2014) was introduced January 9 by U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) as H.R.3830 and U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) as S.1900. This legislation would reauthorize TPA for four years with the possibility of a three-year extension. Alternative bills may also be introduced.
Passage of trade promotion authority will help Congress and the President to work together to forge new and beneficial trade agreements for the United States.
Trade is an important engine for U.S. economic growth and jobs. With more than 30% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) tied to international trade and investment, 95% of the world’s population abroad, and more than one in five U.S. jobs supported by trade, U.S. engagement in the international marketplace is more important to the nation’s economy than ever.
Read CalChamber Top Story
Trade Benefits America Coalition
The Trade Benefits America Coalition includes a wide range of associations and companies dedicated to the pursuit of U.S. international trade agreements that benefit American businesses, farmers, workers, and consumers. The passage of updated Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation is important to help ensure America continues to benefit from trade. See www.TradeBenefitsAmerica.org.
Trade promotion authority (formerly called fast track trade negotiating authority) is the process by which Congress gives authority to the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to enter into trade negotiations in order to lower U.S. export barriers. Traditionally, following the conclusion of negotiations for a trade agreement, enabling legislation is submitted to Congress for approval. Once legislation is submitted, under trade promotion authority, both houses of Congress will vote "yes" or "no" on the agreement with no amendments, and do so within 90 session days (not to be confused with a treaty, which is "ratified" by the U.S. Senate). During negotiations, however, there is a process for sufficient consultation with Congress.
In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the landmark Trade Act, H.R. 3009, which has helped put U.S. businesses, workers and consumers back in the game of international trade by granting the president trade promotion authority. In August 2005, TPA was extended for two years. This legislation cleared the way for free trade negotiations to get underway with other countries. Trade promotion authority expired in June 2007 and must be extended by Congress once again.
Since the Trade Act of 2002, granting the President trade promotion authority, the United States has completed the following free trade agreements (FTA):
- U.S.-Australia FTA
- U.S.-Bahrain FTA
- U.S.-Chile FTA
- U.S.-Central American/Dominican Republic FTA
- U.S.-Colombia FTA
- U.S.-Korea FTA
- U.S.-Morocco FTA
- U.S.-Oman FTA
- U.S.-Panama FTA
- U.S.-Peru FTA
- U.S.-Singapore FTA
Financially, this translates to the removal of billions of dollars in tariffs for U.S. exports.
Free Trade Agreements
Several hundred FTAs are in force worldwide, with the United States party to just a handful.
Both Canada and Mexico have free trade agreements with Chile.
Mexico has over 45 free trade agreements with countries and blocs including Japan, Israel and the European Union.
Chile has more than 50 FTAs with countries worldwide..
The United States' major trading partners are participating in sectoral and regional agreements, and trade promotion authority is a prerequisite to meaningful U.S. participation.
Without TPA, the U.S. will be compelled to sit on the sidelines while other countries negotiate numerous preferential trade agreements that put American companies at a competitive disadvantage. TPA not only opens markets and broadens opportunities for American goods and firms, it will make America the leader in global trade.
Increased market access achieved through trade agreements has played a major role in the nation's success as the world's leading exporter. Trade promotion authority is vital for the President of the United States to negotiate new multilateral, bilateral and sectoral agreements that will continue to tear down barriers to trade and investment, expand markets for U.S. farmers and businesses, and create higher-skilled, higher paying jobs for American workers.
The California Chamber of Commerce, in keeping with long standing policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business.
The CalChamber therefore supports the extension of trade promotion authority so that the President of the United States may negotiate new multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensuring that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans. Such authority involves trade-related issues only and encourages industry consultation during future trade negotiations.
Reasons for Position
U.S. trading partners in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia are actively negotiating with other countries to achieve preferential market access.
America's standing as a world leader depends directly upon its competitive success in the global economy. For more than a half century, the United States has led the world in breaking down barriers to trade and in creating a fairer and freer international trading system based on market economics and the rule of law. Increased market access achieved through trade agreements has played a major role in our nation's success as the world's leading exporter.
TPA Export Initiative
U.S. National District Export Council, February 2014
Commentary by Myron Brilliant in Roll Call, November 5, 2013