15th May 2015

US Senate fails to pass TPA, makes TTIP more problematic

Last week, the US Senate voted on a bill that would give the President a fast track for negotiating international trade deals. This so-called Trade Promotion Authorization (TPA) would mean that the deal negotiated by the President would only be subject to a yes-no vote in the Congress and could not be further amended. The White House stated that the TPA is necessary to finalize talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it would have its influence on TTIP, too. Without the authority, the situation may well come that a negotiated and closed deal would arrive to Congress where it would be filibustered or worse - amended, forcing re-opening of negotiations. The President held TPA power from 2002-2007, but it has not since been renewed. The TPA was caught in Senate politics, with Republicans supporting it and a majority of Democrats opposing. Their main problem with TPA is that it would not ensure final trade deals dealing with currency manipulation. The Administration is willingly leaving such provisions out, since these could be a deal-breaker for many Asian nations. In any case, closing the TTIP negotiations, even if they are concluded at expert levels, can now be more problematic than previously imagined.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic