You probably don’t know what the words “fast track” mean, but if you live in a country that seeks to expand trade with the United States, they matter to you. Here’s why.
The United States is negotiating with 11 countries* in East Asia and the Western Hemisphere to negotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), an agreement that will increase trade among member nations by reducing tariffs and other trade barriers. Economists say more trade means greater prosperity. President Obama calls TPP “by far the most progressive, high-standard trade agreement in history.”
When the U.S. Congress granted Obama trade promotion authority, informally known as “fast track,” it pledged, once negotiations are complete, to give trade agreements a straight up-or-down vote. No amendments or changes to its terms will be permitted.
That means America’s negotiating partners will know the U.S. won’t attempt to change the final deal, and it makes the success of the negotiations much more likely.
If adopted, TPP will cover 40 percent of the world economy and potentially grow the world economy by nearly $300 billion annually.
The U.S. is also negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union. This agreement, the president says, will “support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean.”
*Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam