President Obama moved one important step closer today to achieving what is known as “fast-track authority” to enact critical international trade deals. Bipartisan congressional leaders who oversee trade policy introduced legislation on Thursday, January 9, on trade-prmotion authority (TPA), which will allow trade deals to go through a simple up or down vote by congress.
TPA, which had been in effect in various iterations since 1975 until it lapsed in 2007, is the authority Congress grants to the President to enter into certain reciprocal trade agreements, and to have their implementing bills considered under expedited legislative procedures, provided the President observes certain statutory obligations.
The new legislation, if passed, will pave the way for congressional passage of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The Obama administration has made achieving the fast-track authority a priority in order to achieve its goal set in 2010 of doubling exports by 2015. If completed, the TPP and TTIP will create the world’s largest free-trade zones.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 38.1 million American jobs relate to international trade.