Blog: Katy AskewUS trade liberalisation faces bumpy ride

Katy Askew | 15 May 2015

US efforts to liberalise international trade faced something of a roller coaster ride this week, as the Senate first voted down Barack Obama's proposals only to reach a compromise that would give the President “fast track” negotiating authority. 

A bipartisan bill was introduced last month to renew the Trade Promotion Authority, which has not been in place since 2007. However, earlier this week, Democrats voted down the proposals over fears that American jobs would be hit by trade liberalisation. 

The compromise deal, which was approved just the next day, will give Obama the power to sign trade deals without Congressional approval.  Congress would then have 90 days to either approve or reject the deal – but would be unable to amend it. 

The Obama administration is working on two significant trade deals with Asia and Europe – the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. 

The US food sector broadly supports trade liberalisation talks, suggesting that free trade agreements will have a positive impact on exports. US dairy body the International Dairy Foods Association said last month that the TPA is “key” to “making sure the US dairy industry gets the best possible outcomes in trade agreements". 

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