Washington, D.C.—Jan. 10, 2014—The National Retail Federation (NRF) called on Congress to quickly approve a trade promotion authority bill that would speed consideration of trade agreements brought to Congress by the President. The legislation is seen as critically important in order for the United States to conclude ongoing trade negotiations with Asia and Europe, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
“In order to sustain our economic recovery, spur further growth, and create opportunity through investment and job creation domestically, the country needs to renew its commitment to free markets and free enterprise internationally,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The trade agreements that will follow this legislation will strengthen our recovery, and provide the framework for future economic and employment growth.”
“New trade promotion authority provides our nation’s trade negotiators with the clarity and flexibility they need to deal with our current and future trading partners,” according to Shay. “Trade agreements not only benefit U.S. retailers looking to open new stores and operations in new markets by addressing barriers and the millions of U.S. workers dependent on international trade, but also American consumers who will see increased product selections and lower prices.”
The bill—introduced in the Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and in the House by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.—would renew the President’s authority to submit trade agreements to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote without amendments. It would let Congress establish negotiating objectives for trade agreements, enhance consultation between the executive and legislative branches, and establish procedures on how a trade agreement is submitted to Congress.
“Passage of this measure will commit the country and our policymakers to a 21st Century trade agenda that reflects, and is responsive to, the global supply chain,” Shay said. “Opening up new markets for imports and exports benefits the nation’s manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.”