By Hun Quach
This week, House and Senate Committees advanced trade legislation with bipartisan support. The House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance passed four major trade bills: the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015); renewal of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program; extensions of U.S. preference programs, and a customs reauthorization.
The long awaited TPA bill provides the executive branch with clear negotiating objectives for U.S. trade agreements, which include provisions to raise labor and environmental standards, creates a level playing field for businesses and workers around the world, and ensures that new issues, such as state-owned enterprises and digital trade, are addressed in future trade agreements. The bill also requires robust consultations with Congress and the public, and sets forth an updated process for Congress to consider trade agreements if these requirements are met. TPA is critical to the successful implementation of trade priorities, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).
The House and Senate are expected to consider the legislation in each respective chamber in May.
In a recent article on A Bullseye View, Target's Keri Jones, executive vice president, global supply chain and merchandise planning, and Kelly Caruso, president, Target sourcing services discuss America's trade agenda and why Congress' consideration of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is so important to the retail industry.
As noted by Jones and Caruso, expanding trade grows the economy and creates jobs, which in turn, puts more money in the hands of consumers. The impact of this boost to the economy can be seen throughout every level of the supply chain.
In addition, the TPA would help initiate changes to America's tariff system and ensure stores have access to overseas products that meet the standards set by American consumers.
RILA supports renewal of Trade Promotion Authority and encourages RILA members to engage in the effort by promoting the benefits of trade within their company and their community.