April 20,2015

Press Contact:

Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202) 224-4515

A Primer: Trade Promotion Authority

Bipartisan Trade Tool Has Helped America Secure Strong Trade Deals for Decades

This week the U.S. Senate Finance Committee will continue to examine a number of trade priorities including how Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) can help Congress and the Administration advance America’s trade agenda.

Here's a closer look at what this critical, bipartisan trade tool – TPA – is and what it means for America:

What Is It?

  • Sought by Republican and Democrat Administrations for decades, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) has been essential to negotiating and implementing trade agreements which have benefited American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses with higher paying jobs, greater economic opportunity, and increased access for American products in international markets.
  • TPA creates a partnership between Congress and an administration to make sure that American priorities come first and trade deals get done right. This partnership allows the United States to speak with a unified voice at the negotiating table.  
  • Only when a trade agreement meets America’s objectives and Congress is sufficiently consulted, can an administration submit it to Congress for an up-or-down vote.

Why Do We Need It?

  • Guarantees Best Trade Deals: TPA assures international trading partners the deal they sign is the deal Congress will consider, allowing them to put their best offers on the table and enact high standard trade agreements that will boost American exports and benefit American workers and job creators. TPA expired in 2007 and is needed to successfully conclude strong agreements with our current international trade negotiations.
  • Maintains America’s Leadership in Trade: According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) an estimated 400 trade agreements have been implemented around the world. Yet the United States has only 14 agreements with 20 countries in effect.  If America continues to sit on the sideline, other countries will write the rules of trade and keep American job creators from accessing new markets abroad.
  • Trade Means American Jobs:TPA is the lynchpin to helping secure strong, high-standard trade agreements that will open new markets and create more customers for American manufacturers, farmers, and service providers. This means new economic opportunities and more high-paying jobs for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs.  

What’s At Stake?
Today the United States is currently negotiating two trade agreements with Asia and Europe – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).According to data from the World Bank, together these two trade agreements would further open markets encompassing nearly 1.3 billion customers and approximately 60 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP).[1]

The Bottom Line:
TPA is the only way the United States can successfully conclude strong international trade agreements. It is an essential tool in America’s trade arsenal to unlock opportunities for our exports that will help grow the economy and create better, high-paying jobs here at home.

[1] The World Bank, “Gross Domestic Product 2013,” December 16, 2014; http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf; “World Development Indicators: Size of the Economy,” December 16, 2014; http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/1.1#.