TPA Moves Back to House for Debate

Written by Sandy Williams

The U.S. Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) agreement on May 22 in a 62-37 vote, giving the president “fast track” authority to negotiate trade agreements without amendments attached by Congress. Trade agreements would still be submitted to Congress, however, for a yes or no vote.

An amendment proposed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) calling for tougher enforcement of currency manipulation was rejected by the Senate for inclusion in the final bill.

The TPA now moves to the U.S. House for another difficult debate and vote. Passage of the bill is considered crucial for finalizing negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between the U.S. and eleven Asia-Pacific nations.

Trade remedies proposed by the Congressional Steel Caucus and advanced by Portman in the Senate will be included in an upcoming debate on the House customs and trade enforcement bill.

A recent Gipson Report – USW Local 6787 clarified what the proposed remedies would do:

 – Strengthen and improve our anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws.
 – Establish a means to petition Customs and Border Protection to take action in a timely manner to combat the evasion of anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders.
 – Enhance the ability of the Department of Commerce to select appropriate facts when a foreign party fails to cooperate with an unfair trade investigation.
 – Clarify that the International Trade Commission (ITC) should not deny relief merely because the domestic industry is profitable or because its performance has recently improved, and clarify the factors the ITC should consider in making its material injury determination.
 – Provide the Department of Commerce with the flexibility to use prices or costs that are not distorted when calculating dumping and clarifies its authority regarding the selection of voluntary respondents.

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