The Fast Track on Trade

urlA lot has been in the news lately about new US trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and other agreements with nations in Europe. While these agreements might be able to move some US cargo to other nations, and in turn possibly help the economy, there have been some discussions about how the US can reach the agreements.

Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Paul Ryan recently wrote an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal about the topic of trade. Specifically, they wrote about the trade promotion authority (TPA), also known as Fast Track. Both of these leaders strongly support this legislation and how it can improve container trade from the US. During the article, they point out how the White House must use specific negotiation tactics, consult with Congress and present a full text of trade agreements 60 days before finalizing the deal. They call for more transparency, and they support it because they say Congress gets to have the final say through an up or down vote. The article was titled “Putting Congress in Charge on Trade” in the paper.

However, it seems that this title might be misleading. Congress already has the power to oppose new trade deals. Fast Track, however, won’t allow Congress to make amendments to the agreements. Cruz and Ryan typically don’t trust the President; however, they support a proposal that would give more power to the President. Members of both parties oppose this bill.

If Fast Track did become law, the impact would be unknown for ocean freight shipping rates. Meanwhile, your freight forwarder probably has a lot to say about this issue.

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