by K. William Watson
January 09, 2014
Many will argue that you need fast track to pass free trade agreements, but right now trade promotion authority is largely useless and unacceptably costly. Recent history with fast track shows that the obstacles to passing free trade agreements depend more on the partisan and ideological balance of Congress. Imposing Congress’s policy objectives into the negotiations at this stage won’t help get the Trans-Pacific Partnership accomplished any sooner, and will surely reduce the value of the agreement as a vehicle to liberalize trade. A clean fast track bill that reduces the role of controversial non-essential objectives in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations would do wonders for the U.S. trade agenda. Unfortunately, Congress seems poised to insist on making the Trans-Pacific Partnership an even more “ambitious” agreement.