International Trade and Trade Promotion Authority – A Definite SOTU Highlight
International trade took center stage several times during this week’s State of the Union Address as the president recognizes its potential as an engine for economic growth and job creation. Every state in the union benefits from exports and over 38 million U.S. jobs are supported by international trade. These jobs tend to be higher-paying than non-trade-related jobs and U.S. job growth from 2004-2011 was 6.5 times higher in trade-related jobs.
ALEC welcomes the president’s commitment and applauds his call for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA, a tool that U.S. presidents have enjoyed for decades – is a constitutional partnership between the legislative and executive branches of government. TPA facilitates Congressional oversight of and input into U.S. trade negotiations and is the most effective way for Congress to establish important negotiating objectives before negotiations have concluded. Once Congress sets negotiating parameters, TPA allows the president to negotiate and conclude trade frameworks in the best interests of the nation and in good faith with our trading partners. Given the fact that only one of the 14 trade frameworks negotiated since 1974 was concluded absent TPA, it is safe to say that TPA is essential if we are to succeed in negotiating and finalizing two of the most ambitious trade frameworks in our nation’s history – the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
ALEC has longstanding model policy supporting TPA and last week the ALEC affiliate, the Jeffersonian Project, was one of the over 200 signatories on a Trade Benefits America letter in support of the passage of bipartisan TPA legislation.