Trade Promotion Authority

Trade Promotion Authority

Trade Promotion Authority Quietly Renewed

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation passed Congress on July 1 for another three years, until 2021, as neither the House nor the Senate passed a resolution of disapproval in the previous three months.

On Tuesday, March 21, 2018 President Trump had formally requested a three-year extension of trade promotion authority to negotiate free trade agreements that he can submit to Congress under fast track approval procedures. Congress last passed trade promotion authority in 2015 in one of the hardest-fought congressional trade battles in years.

The TPA allows the White House to submit trade deals to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote without any amendments.  The TPA legislation establishes strong rules for trade negotiations and congressional approval of trade pacts, and delivers trade agreements that boost U.S. exports and create American jobs.

“Extension of TPA is critical to negotiating accountable, enforceable and reciprocal trade deals that will benefit American workers, farmers and ranchers,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement welcoming the renewal. “The Trump administration is pursuing a number of potential bilateral free trade agreements, and TPA extension means we may continue to aggressively pursue these opportunities.”


Trade is an important engine for U.S. economic growth and jobs. With more than 30% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) tied to international trade and investment, 95% of the world’s population abroad, and more than one in five U.S. jobs supported by trade, U.S. engagement in the international marketplace is more important to the nation’s economy than ever. Passage of Trade Promotion Authority can help Congress and the President work together to forge new and beneficial trade agreements for the United States.

Trade promotion authority (formerly called fast track trade negotiating authority) is the process by which Congress gives authority to the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to enter into trade negotiations in order to lower U.S. export barriers. Traditionally, following the conclusion of negotiations for a trade agreement, enabling legislation is submitted to Congress for approval. Once legislation is submitted, under trade promotion authority, both houses of Congress will vote “yes” or “no” on the agreement with no amendments, and do so within 90 session days (not to be confused with a treaty, which is “ratified” by the U.S. Senate). During negotiations, however, there is a process for sufficient consultation with Congress.

CalChamber Position

The California Chamber of Commerce, in keeping with long standing policy, enthusiastically supports free trade worldwide, expansion of international trade and investment, fair and equitable market access for California products abroad and elimination of disincentives that impede the international competitiveness of California business.

The CalChamber therefore supports the extension of trade promotion authority so that the President of the United States may negotiate new multilateral, sectoral and regional trade agreements ensuring that the United States may continue to gain access to world markets, resulting in an improved economy and additional employment of Americans. Such authority involves trade-related issues only and encourages industry consultation during future trade negotiations.

Reasons for Position

U.S. trading partners in Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia are actively negotiating with other countries to achieve preferential market access.

America’s standing as a world leader depends directly upon its competitive success in the global economy. Increased market access achieved through trade agreements has historically played a major role in our nation’s success as the world’s leading exporter.

Trade Benefits America Coalition

The Trade Benefits America Coalition includes a wide range of associations and companies dedicated to the pursuit of U.S. international trade agreements that benefit American businesses, farmers, workers, and consumers. The passage of updated Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation is important to help ensure America continues to benefit from trade. See

Trade Promotion Authority is the Key to a Stronger Economy & a Level Playing Field for American Workers
Trade Benefits America, February 2015


U.S. Senate Passes CalChamber-Supported Trade Bill – CalChamber, June 25, 2015

The U.S. Senate agreed with the California Chamber of Commerce, voting 60-38 to pass Trade Promotion Authority yesterday. The measure renews the authority for the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate trade agreements

January 2014- CalChamber Supports Federal Bill to Extend President’s Authority to Negotiate Free Trade Agreements

In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the landmark Trade Act, H.R. 3009, which has helped put U.S. businesses, workers and consumers back in the game of international trade by granting the president trade promotion authority. In August 2005, TPA was extended for two years. This legislation cleared the way for free trade negotiations to get underway with other countries. Trade promotion authority expired in June 2007 and must be extended by Congress once again.

Since the Trade Act of 2002, granting the President trade promotion authority, the United States has completed the following free trade agreements (FTA):

  • U.S.-Australia FTA
  • U.S.-Bahrain FTA
  • U.S.-Chile FTA
  • U.S.-Central American/Dominican Republic FTA
  • U.S.-Colombia FTA
  • U.S.-Korea FTA
  • U.S.-Morocco FTA
  • U.S.-Oman FTA
  • U.S.-Panama FTA
  • U.S.-Peru FTA
  • U.S.-Singapore FTA

Financially, this translates to the removal of billions of dollars in tariffs for U.S. exports.

Free Trade Agreements

Several hundred FTAs are in force worldwide, with the United States party to just a handful.

Both Canada and Mexico have free trade agreements with Chile.

Mexico has over 45 free trade agreements with countries and blocs including Japan, Israel and the European Union.

Chile has more than 50 FTAs with countries worldwide..

Sectoral/Regional Agreements

The United States’ major trading partners are participating in sectoral and regional agreements, and trade promotion authority is a prerequisite to meaningful U.S. participation.

Without TPA, the U.S. will be compelled to sit on the sidelines while other countries negotiate numerous preferential trade agreements that put American companies at a competitive disadvantage. TPA not only opens markets and broadens opportunities for American goods and firms, it will make America the leader in global trade.

Fast-track makes sense
Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2015

Bipartisan bill could put trade deals on a fast track
Sacramento Business Journal, April 17, 2015

Fast-Track Bill is Introduced in Congress and U.S. Trade Officials Breathe Sigh of Relief
Forbes, April 16, 2015

Ryan Discusses #TPA4USJobs on CNBC
Committee on Ways and Means, April 16, 2015

Statement by the President on the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015
White House, April 16, 2015

Lawmakers Introduce ‘Fast Track’ Trade Bill
Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2015

Deal Reached on Fast-Track Authority for Obama on Trade Pact
New York Times, April 16, 2015

USCIB Hails Trade Promotion Authority Legislation
The United States Council for International Business, April 17, 2015

A Lift for Free Trade
Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2015

Yes, Reagan Used Trade Promotion Authority
Committee on Ways and Means, March 13, 2015

TPA Export Initiative
U.S. National District Export Council, February 2014
(U.S. government informational website)

Recipe for U.S. Jobs Starts With Trade Promotion Authority | Commentary
Commentary by Myron Brilliant in Roll Call, November 5, 2013

Related News

Latest News

Trump Officially Requests Trade Promotion Authority Extension
March 20, 2018

President Signs CalChamber-Supported Trade Bills
June 30, 2015

On Trade, Here’s What the President Signed into Law
June 29, 2015

Statement by Ambassador Michael Froman on Congressional Passage of TPA, AGOA, and Preference Package
June 25, 2015

TPA Passes by Senate
June 25, 2015

CalChamber Applauds U.S. House for Passing TPA; Urges Agreement on Trade Adjustment Assistance
June 15, 2015

CalChamber Forum Highlights Transatlantic & Transpacific Relationships
June 2, 2015

CalChamber Letter to California Congressional Delegation
May 2015

Senate Votes to Grant Obama Fast-Track Power on Trade Deals
May 22, 2015

CalChamber Urges Quick Passage of Bipartisan U.S. Bill Promoting Trade
Federal legislation renewing the authority for the President and/or U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate trade agreements has been introduced. The California Chamber of Commerce is urging the California congressional delegation to quickly pass the bill because it will help boost U.S. exports and create American jobs.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) was introduced April 17 by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin).

CalChamber Letter to California Congressional Delegation
April 20, 2015
CalChamber signs onto Coalition Letter on TPA

Trade Benefits America Coalition urges passage of bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)
Trade Benefits America, January 14, 2015