Significant legislation granting presidential trade negotiating authority introduced

On 9 January 2014, a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders introduced legislation to give President Obama trade promotion authority (TPA) to negotiate highly significant trade agreements, which would be subject to an up-or-down vote in Congress, with time-limited debate and no amendments.

The agreements covered by this authority would include the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement (establishing free trade between the US and 11 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement between the US and the EU. Taken together, these agreements would cover nearly one billion consumers and 65 per cent of global trade, making this one of the more consequential requests for trade negotiating authority ever requested by a US president.

These agreements would establish the terms of trade governing at least the first half of the 21st century, first by opening trade and investment in the critical Pacific Rim region and second by establishing between the developed economies of the US and Europe path-breaking rules governing 21st-century issues, such as cross-border data flows, internet trade, protection of trade secrets and other key areas of regulatory import. For multinational corporations, this legislation has real significance since these negotiations will materially set the terms for global trade and investment in the years ahead. These negotiations, however, are not likely to proceed to final agreement until this authority is provided by Congress…

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