Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Trouble with Fast-Track Authority

Dissenting from the program


Elsewhere on the site today, you'll find a feature called "10 Things the New GOP Congress Should—and Can!—Do." There's a bunch of good ideas in there, but I'm going to have to dissent from the first item on the list:

The bliss part sounds pretty good.

Restore "fast track" trade promotion authority:…Fast-track trade authority would grant the president power to make trade deals, which Congress can then vote up or down without amendments or filibuster.

The last such authorization expired when the Democrats took control of the Senate in 2007, leaving the president less able to negotiate reductions in trade barriers, complete the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks, finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and move forward with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Fast-track authority does make it easier to pass a trade pact without amendment. But if the final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks like the drafts that have leaked, then I don't want it to pass without amendment.

"Free trade" agreements frequently include details that don't have anything to do with freeing trade. When intellectual property enters the picture, the rules typically make trade more rather than less restrictive. That certainly seems to be the case with the TPP: Provisions in the leaked drafts would extend copyright terms, impose DMCA-style restrictions on circumventing copy protection, and otherwise take a maximalist approach to intellectual property. There are efforts to add tighter IP regulations to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership too.

I already tend to be skeptical about trade agreements as a path to freer trade, but I recognize and respect the argument that they do more good than harm. That argument is much harder to maintain, though, when the deals are loaded down with provisions like these. If fast-track authority makes such rules easier to pass, then fast-track authority is something I'm happy to do without.

NEXT: What Should Lawmakers Do Now? A Reason Policy Agenda for the 114th Congress.

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  1. You know else was a fan of fast track authority?

    1. AJ Foyt?

      1. There’s a name you don’t hear everyday!

      1. Secretariat? I hardly KNEW it!


    2. Dale Earnhart?

  2. I’m all for free trade, but the direction power should be flowing is from the executive back to the legislature. I wouldn’t give one ounce more to the president, especially this one.

    1. especially this one

      Oh, NOW we see the racism inherent in the system! Wha’ a giveaway THAT was! Did you see him racist-ing the President?

  3. I think they do more harm than good actually. Just look at NAFTA. People think we have “free trade”.

    Instead Mexicans can’t even get electronics in the mail from the US without huge duties and even then they may never receive the electronics if customs decides to hold onto them for whatever reason.

    Same goes for Canada, shipping anything to Canada is a nightmare and the person receiving the package may well have to pay ridiculous duties.

    Then when stuff goes wrong, the marxists can scream “it was the fault of FREE TRADE”.

    We get all of the negatives and none of the positives (that I can see). on BOTH sides.

    1. Like I’ve seen people blame the “price fixing” in Canada on “free trade”.

      Even though if it were a breeze to import to Canada people would be shipping cheaper goods over the border to exploit arbitrage minus REAL transportation costs. (not artificial ones created by government)

      And vice versa…

      1. *export to Canada I guess I should say…

    2. I’m confused what duties and shipping have to do with NAFTA. Were the duties and shipping restrictions not in existence prior to NAFTA? I’m skeptical.

      1. How is it free trade when there are still shipping restrictions, duties, and labor?

        That’s my point. The point is it’s not free trade at all. It’s a complete farce. A farce that often times ends up harming things more because if you only have SOME parts of free trade, and not others the side effects often end up being worse than they would have been sans the “free trade” agreement.

        1. *and restrictions on labor.

          Basically it’s “free trade” for a select few, in only some ways, but not for anyone else.

  4. I just looked at the list. Zero chance of them doing anything on that list.

    What they will do is pass more bad laws stuffed full of cronyism.

    Meet the new orange man, same as the old orange man.

  5. The two trade deals Obama did were both reworked by the Obama Administration so as to be acceptable to the United Auto Workers.

    That’s both the trade deal with Colombia, and the trade deal with South Korea.

    I can understand Mr. Walker’s reservations about giving the Obama Administration fast track authority to negotiate a trade deal. Because it isn’t really giving the Obama Administration the authority to negotiate a free trade agreement–it’s giving the United Auto Workers the authority to negotiate American trade policy.

    …and I’d rather have no trade deal at all than let the United Auto Workers dictate American trade policy.

    1. The UAW are just honest hard working middle class Americans trying to support their families.

      Why do you hate families Ken?

      1. I know you’re kidding, but…

        The UAW and their fucking families still owe the American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars–and the precedent their sick bailout set will almost certainly cost us tens of billions more.

        There’s the rule of law violations, and the demented rhetoric they direct at entrepreneurs and capitalism. …and they’ve infected our trade treaties, too? I don’t want them negotiating our trade agreements any more than I’d want them renegotiating our Constitution.

        Fuck the UAW.

    2. I don’t understand this. It’s akin to saying you’d rather have no drugs legalized than have marijuana legalized and taxed.

      1. No, it’s akin to opposing a bill that would legalize marijuana but ban beer.

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    Go to this website ??????

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