As expected, President Trump has formally requested from Congress a three-year extension of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) pursuant to the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. In requesting the extension of TPA, which is due to expire July 1, 2018, the president noted, “Extension of trade authorities procedures is essential to fulfill that task and to demonstrate to our trading partners that my Administration and the Congress share a common goal when it comes to trade.” In his Presidential Message to Congress seeking TPA renewal, the president stated that his administration “has launched a new era in American trade policy, driven by a determination to use the leverage available to us as the world’s largest economy to open foreign markets, and to obtain more efficient global markets and fairer treatment for American workers. One of the major pillars supporting my trade policy is the pursuit of better trade deals.”
TPA, also referred to as “fast track authority,” is the process that allows the president to negotiate certain international trade agreements that Congress will consider for approval under expedited legislative procedures, provided the president observes certain statutory obligations. TPA defines how Congress has chosen to exercise its constitutional authority over a particular aspect of trade policy, while giving the president added leverage to negotiate trade agreements by effectively assuring U.S. trade partners that final agreements will be given timely and unamended consideration.