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Trade Promotion Authority — What It Means

April 16, 2015


Trade Agreements Are Good For American Workers, Job Creators, and Our National Security

  • One in five American jobs is tied to trade. That’s 38 million jobs in total. And jobs that are tied to trade pay, on average, 18 percent more.
  • If we want to grow our economy, we need to sell more American-made goods and services abroad.
  • More than 95 percent of the world’s customers live beyond our borders, and good trade agreements allow us break down barriers to American exports.
  • Good trade agreements make sure that American workers and job creators can compete on a level playing field.
  • Good trade agreements allow the United States to write the rules of the global economy. If we don’t, nations like China will.
  • Good trade agreements bolster our national security by fostering economic cooperation and strengthening our ties with other nations.

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Empowers Congress and Holds the Administration Accountable

  • A president already has the constitutional authority to negotiate a trade agreement with other nations. TPA inserts Congress into that process from the outset.
  • TPA allows Congress to set U.S. trade priorities through a set of clear negotiating objectives, and requires the administration to follow them.
  • The nearly 150 objectives include things like protections for intellectual property rights, rules for agricultural trade, labor standards, and measures to combat currency manipulation.
  • TPA demands the administration to engage in robust consultation with Congress, and allows members to be part of the negotiating process.
  • TPA includes stringent transparency requirements that allow Congress and the American people to understand what an agreement would be mean before a vote.
  • If the administration follows the negotiating objectives and satisfies its consultation and transparency obligations, a trade agreement is allowed an up-or-down vote in Congress. But…
  • If an administration falls short, Congress can withdraw TPA procedures, and this TPA bill includes a new, additional mechanism to hold the administration accountable.
  • This means Congress has the final say on any trade deal, and if the administration doesn’t do its part, TPA can be turned off – and the trade agreement can be stopped.

We Need TPA To Get Good Trade Agreements

  • TPA creates a united front between Congress and an administration that allows our negotiators to get the best deals possible.
  • Our negotiating partners will only make concessions to lower barriers to trade and set high standards if they know Congress will not re-write an agreement later.
  • If the administration works with Congress and follows its negotiating objectives, we can achieve good trade agreements that help American workers and job creators.