In a press release issued by Communications Workers of America, survey results indicate that 62 percent of respondents totally oppose “having Congress give the president fast-track authority [aka Trade Promotion Authority] for a new Pacific trade agreement.”
One of the questions asked by pollsters Hart Research and Chesapeake Beach Consulting accurately explained that if the president were given this authority, “Once the administration’s negotiations are completed, Congress must take an up-or-down vote on the agreement as a whole, and could not make any amendments or changes in the agreement.”
Given the myriad difficulties dogging negotiators from the 12 countries currently included in the trade pact region, blocking the granting of such sweeping power is critical.
Additionally, in light of significant bipartisan opposition to the agreement, it would seem that only President Obama can close the deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Part of that includes persuading Congress to “fast track” negotiation of the TPP, in the form of a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill.
The TPA is a tool that the president demands be in the U.S. trade representative’s bag when he sits down with his colleagues from the other TPP participants. Forbes reports:
TPA or “fast track” is essential for the President to complete negotiations. Negotiators for our trading partners would be foolish to sign off on a treaty unless they knew that the Congress could not amend it.
A TPA bill would allow the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty, said to be in its final stages, to be completed and ratified. In addition to its trade and economic benefits, TPP is the most prominent piece of the Obama “pivot to Asia,” his attempt to exercise more leadership in the area. TPP is supposed to lead the region to our version of open, reciprocal trade rather than have the region move toward the Chinese mercantilist model.
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