USCA opposes ‘fast track’ authority |

USCA opposes ‘fast track’ authority

By Leo McDonnell

Columbus, Mont.

“USCA believes that expanded trade needs to meet U.S. agricultural, manufacturing and workers needs for fair access to global markets, for corrections of distortions that deny access for U.S. goods, for trading rules that prevent liberalization being a race to the bottom. Fast track legislation has been used for the last forty years as a way to speed trade legislation through Congressional consideration after the Administration has negotiated pursuant to some general objectives without modifications being allowed. Congress can approve or reject. It is my understanding that Congress has always approved the package. Fast track procedures result in the private sector having no ability to seek modifications when the full content of the package is revealed, essentially preventing Congress from exercising its Constitutional role in international trade. Because of problems in the access of the public to information about the negotiations while they are going on, most Americans don’t know and can’t work with the Administration or the Congress while the negotiations are underway. Thus, USCA has concerns with the process of negotiations and whether Congressional objectives are the basis for negotiations. Moreover, in the forty years since fast track was introduced, our country has gone from running either trade surpluses in goods or being roughly break even to having amassed a trade deficit that is now some $11.5 trillion through the end of 2013, with the bulk of the deficit accumulated in the last twenty years. The trend has gotten much worse in the last decade or so and is simply unsustainable. Our understanding of the bill introduced yesterday is that it is largely a repeat of the 2002 trade promotion legislation with some additional provisions. Unfortunately trade policy over the last forty years has increasingly not worked to improve the conditions of working men and women, farmers and ranchers and businesses in the United States. We need to rethink our approach to trade, not simply go down the same road.” F

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