REALITY CHECK: Time to get the facts right on TPA

Author: Amy Volk | Posted: 11/22/2013

There are a lot of rumors circulating about Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and it’s time to separate fact from fiction. The Trade Benefits America Coalition has produced a new report that explains what TPA is, how it works, and why it is an important tool to support U.S. growth and jobs. Here are the highlights:

Top 10 TPA Facts

#1 TPA is constitutional. Congress and the President share constitutional authority over trade and international agreements, and TPA is an exercise of Congress’s constitutional authority.

#2  TPA does not exclude Congress from playing a meaningful role in the negotiation and approval of trade agreements. TPA is designed to empower Congress.

#3  TPA does not cede to the President the ability to set U.S. trade negotiating objectives and decide whether trade agreements meet Congressional priorities for international trade. TPA enhances the power of Congress to make those decisions.

#4  TPA does not let the President enter into a trade agreement without Congress’s consent. The United States becomes a party to a trade agreement and is legally bound under the agreement only after Congress votes to approve the agreement.

#5  TPA does not result in the Executive Branch unilaterally writing legislation to implement a trade agreement. Under TPA, Congress and the Executive Branch work together to draft legislation implementing trade agreements, reflecting their shared constitutional authorities.

#6  TPA does not force Congress to vote on trade agreements without first having input into them and being able to fully consider them. TPA provides Congress with extensive opportunity to help shape a trade agreement during its negotiation and to consider legislation implementing the trade agreement before it is submitted to Congress for a vote.

#7  TPA does not undermine U.S. sovereignty. TPA and legislation implementing U.S. trade agreements protect U.S. sovereignty in trade agreements negotiated under TPA and no foreign country or dispute settlement tribunal can force the United States to change its laws.

#8  TPA does not allow the negotiation of trade agreements that override U.S. consumer protection, health, environmental safety, security and financial standards. Under TPA, Congress retains its authority to decide the appropriate standards for the United States.

#9  TPA does not undermine transparency in trade negotiations. TPA helps ensure transparency in trade negotiations.

#10  TPA strengthens Congress’s role in trade negotiations and the ability of U.S. trade negotiators to accomplish the objectives set by Congress.

To see the full report and learn more about TPA myths and realities, click here. For more information on how trade and U.S. trade agreements benefit America, and on the importance of passing TPA, click here.


The Trade Benefits America Coalition includes a wide range of associations and companies that are dedicated to the pursuit of U.S. international trade agreements that benefit American businesses, farmers, workers, and consumers. The Coalition believes that passage of updated Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation is important to help ensure America continues to benefit from trade.