Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Thank you for contacting me regarding Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). I appreciate hearing from you.
As you know, TPA, also known as "fast-track" authority, provides the Executive Branch with flexibility to negotiate trade agreements with other countries and to have those agreements considered by Congress under expedited procedures that do not allow for amendments, and that require only a simple majority for final approval. Although the Constitution gives Congress – and not the President – authority over international trade, Congress periodically delegates some of that authority to the Executive Branch in order to allow more efficient and effective trade negotiations with other nations.
The TPA framework that Congress passed in 2002 expired on July 1. Since Congress has yet to extend or renew TPA, the authority that Congress grants the President to enter into certain trade agreements, as well as the ability of Congress to consider legislation to implement those agreements under expedited procedures, has ceased. However, because they were completed before TPA expired, pending trade agreements with Peru, Panama, Colombia, and Korea can still be considered under TPA's expedited procedures. Once the President sends legislation to implement those agreements to Congress, the House and Senate will have 90 days to consider the proposal and bring it up for a vote.
I certainly understand concerns about how unfair competition from abroad can threaten the viability of American producers. I also believe that trade agreements must place American workers on a fair and level playing field with those working in other countries. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind when Congress considers extension or renewal of TPA, and that I am committed to fighting for a trade negotiation framework that gives our nation the tools it needs to reap the benefits of free trade, while ensuring a level playing field for American businesses and workers.
Thank you again for contacting me.
United States Senator
Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please visit my website at http://salazar.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm and fill out the webform for a prompt response. Thank you.