Sen. Chuck Grassley today made the following comment on the introduction of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reinstate Trade Promotion authority. Grassley is a senior member and former chairman of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over trade.
“The introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation is welcome. The development of new markets for U.S. products tends to stall when there isn’t Trade Promotion Authority. Meanwhile, other countries jump in to fill the void. Farmers, manufacturers and services providers in Iowa ought to have access to new markets to build up their businesses and employ Iowans. Trade Promotion Authority can give the United States a stronger position at the negotiating table. Potential trade partners know a trade agreement will hold because it’ll have the full force of the United States behind it.
“Trade Promotion Authority also preserves a clear role for the legislative branch. Congress has the ultimate say with an up or down vote on any agreement negotiated and presented by the executive branch. That doesn’t absolve Congress of any responsibility to review trade agreements. The opposite is true. Congress needs to review them the way it would review anything else presented from the executive branch as a co-equal branch of government. For example, I have concerns that this particular Administration might exert executive overreach on immigration in trade agreements. That underscores the need for Congress to review whatever trade agreement comes forward. I would want to review trade agreements for other reasons, too, such as making sure U.S. producers are getting fair treatment compared to our trading partners. Some countries reportedly have been slow to eliminate tariffs on certain U.S. agricultural products in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and a final agreement with those market access barriers would be hard for me to support. Trade Promotion Authority, if re-instated, should give U.S. negotiators the backing needed to finish the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in a positive way for U.S. farmers and other U.S. interests.”