Monday, February 17, 2014

Center Supports Trans-Pacific Partnership 'Fast Track' Authority

The Center believes "fast track" authority for the Executive Branch would bring economic and strategic value to the United States by streamlining trade negotiations among 12 Pacific countries. "Fast track" authority would require Congress to approve trade deals on an up-or-down vote without amending them.  The authority would apply most immediately to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pending trade pact that would include the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam.

The White House is pushin for the Pacific trade pact. President Barack Obama has said the trade agreements are a way to boost economic growth, lure high-paying jobs and boost exports. The Pacific pact is also seen as a way to put pressure on China to adopt fairer trade and investment rules or face isolation in the region. The Center agrees.  American jobs aren't going to be created by hiding from competition or making it more complext to export American goods and services to Pacific partners.  In terms of any threat to internet freedom of expression, Congress would still vote on any trade agreement.  We are confident that Congress will protect the integrity of the internet.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) oppose the fast-track bill. Unions and environmental groups have criticized the TPP talks, saying an agreement could pave the way for some U.S. job losses to Vietnam and other low-wage economies in the talks. Senator Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, criticized the administration for a lack of transparency in the TPP talks. Mr. Wyden supports fast-track authority in some form and says trade agreements are a way to capitalize on America's strengths, including in new data-intensive technologies. (WSJ, 2/14/2014)

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