After the US Senate finally passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) earlier this month, a new setback for President Obama and the US trade talks came in the House vote. The Administration says it needs the authority to effectively negotiate with its partners and to conclude good free trade deals. By passing the TPA, the Congress gives up its authority to amend the concluded deals and agrees to hold only a yes-no vote of the final agreements. This is regarded as key for US credibility in trade talks. Nearly all presidents in the past decades had such fast-tracks. But President Obama was abandoned by some of his fellow Democrats. Although the TPA itself had the support it needed to pass, with 28 Democrats joining the Republicans in the pro-TPA camps, TPA was bundled with another bill, which itself failed to pass. This means that TPA in fact did not pass, at least for now. Although this mainly harms the trans-Pacific trade talks, EU-US negotiations are also concerned. Momentum is being lost, the negotiations are dragging and will almost certainly not be concluded in 2015, as previously planned.
20th February 2019
25th January 2019