Just before the Memorial Weekend recess, the U.S. Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with a strong bipartisan majority. This is a 6-year authorization that will give the current White House, and the next President in 2017, the ability to negotiate free trade agreements in European and Asian markets.
For roughly the last 75 years, some form of TPA has been in place to negotiate agreements facilitating the movement of American products into other countries. With one in five American jobs relying on free trade, TPA is an important issue to watch. Companies throughout northeast Wisconsin, from manufacturing to agriculture, have made exporting their products a key part of their business plan. It diversifies their portfolio, but also helps them reach the fastest growing markets in the world.
Over the next decade, there will be more than 3 billion new customers in Asia. They can either buy their products from other countries, or they can buy them from the U.S. The debate over Trade Promotion Authority will be moving to the U.S. House of Representatives during the month of June.
While the issue of free trade is not without its detractors, the White House and Congress have so far chosen to work together. By allowing this 6-year authorization to go into effect, the countries negotiating these deals with the U.S., will know they have partners in both the Executive and Legislative branch that will honor the terms of any final agreement.
There are also still checks and balances within this TPA authorization:
-It requires the White House to consult with Members of Congress.
-Congress must still vote the package up or down.
-It will also open a 60 day window (after a trade agreement has been reached) for the public to comment.