May 12,2015

Press Contact:

Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

A Trade Tool for the 21st Century

Trade Promotion Authority Sets High Objectives for the New Economy


The United States lost an important trade tool when Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expired in 2007.  Since then, the rest of the world has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of more than 140 bilateral or regional trade agreements.  The United States, however, has signed zero.  Such lack of action has only kept American businesses on the sidelines and without an opportunity to expand economic opportunities abroad.

In spite of this, nearly a decade a later, a new American economy focused on innovation, cutting-edge technology and 21st century advancements has emerged here at home.

It’s time to share this success, increase the nation’s global footprint and ensure American-made goods and services are being sold across the world.    

With Congress expected to take up bipartisan legislation to renew TPA this week, there’s a real opportunity for the United States to take the first step to see that the products of the new American economy have fair access to new international markets.

The Good News:  The United States has led in developing this new economy driven by technological advances.  The emergence of smart phones, tablets, social media and on-demand apps have fundamentally changed American life.  Catalyzed by a growing and innovative technology sector, the new economy is a result of tireless efforts from American entrepreneurs and small businesses that have invested time, capital, and resources into creating new products here at home.

Now, Congress has a unique opportunity to help Americans sell those technology products abroad by renewing TPA.

The Better News: The Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA 2015) that is being taken up in the Senate this week is fully equipped to meet the needs of the new economy so that American entrepreneurs, business, and workers can have better opportunities to sell their products abroad.


Here’s how:

  • Digital Trade and the Internet: TPA 2015 has a new negotiating objective that recognizes the significance of the Internet as a trading platform in international commerce.  This objective, as well as other new objectives on digital trade, make clear to our trading partners that Congress expects them to ensure current trade obligations apply to digital trade and to refrain from using regulations that would impede digital trade – important protections for the American tech industry.
  • Intellectual Property: TPA 2015 calls for trade agreements to provide a high standard of intellectual property (IP) protection that is similar to the standard found in U.S. law.  TPA 2015 also for the first time directs the administration to prevent or eliminate any negotiating partner’s involvement in IP rights violations, including piracy and cyber theft of trade secrets.


  • Cross-Border Data Flows: TPA 2015 directs the administration to ensure that our negotiating counterparts do not restrict cross-border data flows, or require local storage or processing of data.


For a section-by-section breakdown of how TPA 2015 will address the 21st century digital economy, click here.