Arlington, VA – The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) today welcomed bipartisan legislation that would restore Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Congressional approval of TPA legislation would foster greater consultation and transparency between Congress and the Administration in setting trade priorities and authorize the president to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can then approve or reject, but not amend.
“The sooner we restore Trade Promotion Authority, the sooner the United States can restore its credibility in negotiating trade agreements that benefit U.S. workers and create jobs in the United States,” said AAFA Board of Directors Chairman Philip C. Williamson, President, CEO and Chairman of Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company. “Without Trade Promotion Authority, the United States risks leaving trade partners with the sense that our word at the negotiating table isn’t worth anything because the administration and Congress aren’t working in concert. If there is any hope of realizing ambitious outcomes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, we need Trade Promotion Authority now.”
“The U.S. apparel and footwear industry thanks Senator Max Baucus, Senator Orin Hatch, and Representative Dave Camp for working together to advance the much-needed renewal of Trade Promotion Authority,” Williamson said.
Because the Constitution gives Congress the ability to regulate international commerce, Congress must ultimately approve all free trade agreements before the agreements can take effect. However, the president, through the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), negotiates these agreements. Without TPA, Congress could change significant terms of a trade agreement that is already negotiated. Knowing that sensitive provisions in trade agreements might be altered by Congress at some future date, U.S. trade negotiating partners might choose to hold back key concessions at the bargaining table.
Since 1974, presidents have used Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to negotiate trade agreements on behalf of the United States. Once finalized, the agreements are sent to Congress for a simple up or down vote without fear of being amended once submitted. TPA helps strengthen the United States’ negotiating position by requiring the administration to negotiate in close consultation with Congress. In the end, TPA creates better and more balanced trade policy. The most recent iteration of TPA expired in 2007.
About the Trade Benefits America Coalition
AAFA is an active supporter of the Trade Benefits America Coalition, a coalition of more than 160 organizations dedicated to the pursuit of U.S. international trade agreements that benefit American businesses, farmers, workers, and consumers. The Coalition believes that passage of updated Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation is important to help ensure America continues to benefit from trade.