Trump to seek trade promotion authority

Trump to seek trade promotion authority, urges Doud confirmation

President Donald Trump will ask Congress to extend trade promotion authority until 2021 to give him and his administration the ability to negotiate trade agreements that Congress will vote up or down but not amend, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Wednesday when it released the administration’s annual trade agenda report to Congress.

In a news release, USTR warned that the Senate’s failure to confirm Trump’s nominees to serve as deputy U.S. trade representatives and chief agricultural negotiator “could significantly undermine” efforts to move forward with trade negotiations.

The nominee for chief agricultural negotiator is Gregg Doud. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., placed a hold on Doud’s nomination over the administration’s interest in allowing Florida tomato producers to use U.S. trade remedy laws to counter surges of imports from Mexico. Flake has removed the hold, but the full Senate still has not voted on the Doud nomination.

The news release noted that “the Trump administration will continue renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to modernize and rebalance the 24-year-old trade pact, as well as negotiations to amend the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) in order to seek fairer, more reciprocal trade.”

The release also pointed out that the United States and the United Kingdom established a Trade and Investment Working Group in July 2017 to lay the groundwork for commercial continuity and prepare for a potential future trade agreement once the U.K. leaves the European Union. The administration will continue preparing for other potential bilateral agreements, including in the Indo-Pacific and African regions, the release said.

An analysis by Washington Trade Daily noted that the report places a high priority on China’s trade practices.

–The Hagstrom Report