Hatch, Wyden and Ryan Introduce TPA Legislation

April 22, 2015

pic-export-shipOn April 16, bipartisan, bicameral legislation was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to modernize and renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) by establishing concrete rules for international trade negotiations. The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) would help open the door to new markets for U.S. goods and services, boost U.S. economic growth, and support well-paying U.S. jobs.

The TPA-2015 legislation improves upon the 2002 TPA law by including three main components which contain, directing the administration to pursue Congressional prerogatives through Congressionally-mandated negotiating objectives; establishing robust consultation and access to information requirements before, during, and after negotiations that ensure an open and transparent process for members and the public; and preserving Congressional prerogatives and gives Congress the final say in approving trade agreements, allowing removal of TPA procedures if the administration fails to meet TPA requirements.

The U.S. is currently negotiating one of its most ambitious and diverse range of trade pacts ever, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations with 11 other Asia-Pacific countries, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union (EU) and its 28 member states, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) with 49 other economies (including the EU member states), and an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) with 40 other economies (including the EU member states). All of these deals involve important 21st century trade issues, and represent historic opportunities to support U.S. growth and jobs by providing stronger Intellectual Property protection, eliminating non-tariff barriers, and reducing regulatory risk. Most in Congress agree that renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, is necessary to get the best results in these negotiations for American workers, farmers, and businesses, consistent with Congressional priorities.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held another trade hearing, a continuation of a hearing the committee conducted last Thursday when TPA-2015 legislation and other trade bills were introduced. The second hearing was held as a courtesy to members who said they needed more time to see how the new TPA bill could help advance the trade agenda. Today, Senate Finance panel will hold a mark-up covering TPA, trade adjustment assistance, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Generalized System of Preferences, preferential duty treatment for Haiti and customs reauthorization. Across the Capitol, the Ways and Means Committee will hold hearing on expanding American trade with accountability and transparency, where this measure will likely be discussed.

NSBA and its international trade arm—the Small Business Exporters Association (SBEA)—applauds the bipartisan leaders from both the House and Senate who jointly introduced the TPA-2015 legislation that will put in place the necessary mechanisms and special procedures for the negotiation, consideration, and implementation of trade agreements. NSBA/SBEA have long argued that it is critical the president has the authority to negotiate trade agreement through TPA, as it will help provide new economic opportunities for American businesses, farmers, workers and consumers. New and expanded market access through trade agreements has been an important catalyst for increased small business exports. NSBA and SBEA urge Congress and the administration to act swiftly to move the legislation forward with bipartisan support.