April 21,2015

Press Contact:

Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202) 224-4515

Congressional Consultation is a TPA Cornerstone

Bipartisan Tool Requires Congressional Input and Oversight in Trade Negotiations

Right now, any administration – Republican or Democrat – can negotiate a trade agreement on their own terms without clear direction from Congress.  That would change with TPA.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 establishes strict rules and negotiating objectives that any administration must follow when entering into and conducting trade talks.  By requiring that Congress have access to important information surrounding pending trade deals as they are being negotiated, TPA increases transparency and gives Congress and the public the power to see that the trade priorities of Americans are being met.

Here’s how:

TPA Requires Consultation with Members of Congress and Public Visibility

  • CONGRESSIONAL TRANSPARENCY: Empowers Congress by requiring the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to provide access to classified negotiating texts of all trade negotiations to any Member of Congress.
  • CONSULTATION WITH ALL OF CONGRESS: Requires that USTR consult with any Member of Congress at any time while also requiring consultation with any Committees of Jurisdiction whose laws could be affected by trade deals.
  • ADVISORY GROUPS FORMED: TPA creates House and Senate Advisory Groups on Negotiations to oversee ongoing negotiations and consult prior to launching and requires USTR to consult on formulation of specific objectives, negotiating strategies and positions, the development of the applicable trade agreement, and compliance and enforcement of negotiated trade agreement commitments.
  • DETAILS MADE AVAILABLE: Requires the Administration to publish detailed and comprehensive summaries of the specific objectives that trade negotiators are seeking in trade negotiations, and keep such summaries updated as negotiations continue.
  • EXTENDED CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW TIMELINE: Requires the President to submit to the committees of jurisdiction the final, legal text of a trade agreement and a draft of its Statement of Administrative Action at least 30 days before the President submits an implementing bill to the Congress.
  • PUBLIC VISIBILITY: Establishes, for the first time in law, that the text of a completed trade agreement must be public for at least 60 days before the President signs the agreement.
  • ROBUST REPORTING REQUIREMENTS: Expands reporting requirements on the effects of trade agreements including new provisions on the economic impact of any implemented agreement, whether a trade agreement would require changes to U.S. labor laws and practices, and enforcement actions undertaken pursuant to a trade agreement. Requires that reports be made public.