– The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released its draft bill, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Act of 2013, developed to initiate and facilitate debate over the objectives of future trade agreements and ensuring an efficient “fast track” process for Congressional consideration of implementing legislation. This draft legislative text is an updated version of the NFTC’s draft Trade Negotiating Authority Act of 2009.
“Trade promotion authority is critical to U.S. trade policy, and with the renewal of TPA legislation at the forefront of the trade agenda this year, we hope to jumpstart the debate with the release of our new draft legislation,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “The global trading system has seen significant changes since the last TPA bill was signed into law. Our draft legislation includes new negotiating objectives that address the challenges and realities of today’s global trading system, including forced localization, cross-border data flows and intellectual property rights, just to name a few.”
The new fundamental negotiating objectives cited in the draft bill include:
- Ensuring that regulations in the United States and abroad are coherent, science-based and arrived at transparently;
- Enhancing the protection of intellectual property rights by ensuring that U.S. standards of protection and enforcement are incorporated in new trade agreements;
- Ensuring that U.S. companies have full access to global supply and distribution chains;
- Modernizing rules, standards and practices governing the flow of data and information across borders;
- Harmonizing customs and other border measures to facilitate trade;
- Ensuring high levels of environmental protection and respect for fundamental labor rights;
- Strengthening rules against forced localization through practices and laws that force companies to source goods and services or transfer technology as a condition of doing business;
- Strengthening World Trade Organization (WTO) rules to prevent market-distorting export restrictions;
- Promoting transparency and non-discrimination in government procurement systems; and
- Improving health outcomes by creating competitive opportunities for a full range of U.S. products (innovative and generic) and services.
Additionally, the draft legislation acknowledges that multilateral negotiations are moving toward a two-track system within the WTO in which countries willing to undertake greater liberalization can do so on a non-MFN basis without being held back by those unable or unwilling to participate and calls for tougher enforcement of the “substantially all trade” requirement for free trade agreements. The bill also focuses bilateral objectives on countries that would provide the greatest economic benefit to the United States, in addition to encouraging harmonization of the rules in various bilateral and regional agreements.
Procedurally, the bill would renew trade promotion authority for five years with the option to extend it at regular five-year intervals if the President requests and the Congress does not disapprove. It would also create a special rule for the TPP negotiations, permitting the fast-track procedures to apply to implementing legislation for a TPP agreement only if one were submitted within a year of the date of enactment of the bill.
The bill also creates an Office of Trade Analysis within USTR and establishes a petition process within the Executive Branch for considering proposals to remove U.S. nontariff trade barriers.
Click here to read the full text of the bill.
Click here to read a summary of the bill.
Click here for a list of major changes from the 2002 law.
About the NFTC
Advancing Global Commerce for Nearly A Century- The National Foreign Trade Council (www.nftc.org) is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules- based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
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