March 30,2018

Press Contact:

202-224-4515, Katie Niederee and Julia Lawless

Fast Facts on Fast Track: What is Trade Promotion Authority?

President Trump Requests TPA Renewal Ahead of April 1 Deadline

Just last week, the Trump administration requested renewal of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), pursuant to bipartisan legislation that promotes strong trade agreements between the United States and its trading partners by establishing pro-growth trade objectives and increasing transparency. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who championed the 2015 TPA law, welcomes the administration’s request, as long as they commit to use the extension to seek new, market expanding trade negotiations consistent with the high standard statutory trade negotiating objectives. The current, three-year period of TPA expires on July 1, 2018.

TPA expedites trade negotiations               

First adopted in the Trade Act of 1974, TPA streamlines legislative consideration of trade agreements negotiated by the executive branch. When the administration negotiates trade deals that meet the high standards set by TPA and the administration meets the requirements to consult with Congress and the public, Congress gives those agreements an up-or-down vote by a simple majority, without amendments. This process ensures that trade deals are considered in a timely manner.

Since 1979, we have used TPA to implement 14 bilateral or regional free-trade agreements (FTAs) and one multilateral trade liberalization agreement. FTAs are essential to the health and growth of the U.S. economy – enhancing American competitiveness, creating U.S. jobs, and promoting the sale of U.S. goods.

TPA sets trade objectives that promote U.S. economic growth

TPA outlines bipartisan objectives for trade agreements as determined by Congress, requiring that the president achieves goals that promote U.S. economic growth through trade. In the 2015 TPA legislation, Congress updated its objectives to reflect modern priorities. TPA 2015, for example, included objectives to fight currency manipulation and combat barriers to innovation and digital trade.

TPA enhances transparency and oversight of the executive branch in trade negotiations

Congress has the Constitutional power to regulate commerce with foreign nations. To promote transparency and affirm Congress’ role over trade negotiations, TPA requires the U.S. Trade Representative to consult with the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and other congressional committees throughout the entire trade negotiation process. To this end, TPA 2015 includes multiple mechanisms for disqualifying a trade agreement from TPA procedures if it fails to meet the law’s transparency and consultation requirements.

The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over U.S. international trade policy.

Click here to learn more about the importance of TPA.