May 02, 2018

ICYMI: Freedom Partners: Let trade promotion authority renewal move ahead

Post by Freedom Partners

Freedom Partners Executive Vice President Nathan Nascimento  |  The Hill

U.S. trade policy is facing enough challenges these days. The last thing we need is for Congress to make things worse.

But that could happen if some frustrated lawmakers go through with their idea to use an approaching deadline on renewal of trade promotion authority as leverage to jolt the Trump administration on other trade policies.

Putting TPA at risk, even in a good cause, is a bad idea.

Over the past 40 years, TPA has been renewed four times — in 1979, 1988, 2002 and 2015 — twice under Democratic presidents and twice under Republican presidents. In that time, it was used to approve 14 bilateral and regional trade agreements.

U.S. policy should be focused on lowering trade barriers, and TPA is a crucial element in accomplishing that goal. Without it, the administration would have a much tougher time negotiating deals that open the markets of our trading partners to U.S. exports.

No system is perfect, and some Americans are rightly concerned about other countries that are engaged in unfair practices.

But erecting barriers would be cutting off our nose to spite our face. It would destroy jobs in our own country and raise the cost of goods purchased by nearly everyone.

If Congress wants to find a way to increase its leverage in trade discussions with the Trump administration, it should look elsewhere. On the question of trade promotion authority, President Trump is right. Let the renewal take effect.