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July 13, 2008 

NFTC Releases Draft "Trade Negotiating Authority Act of 2009"

The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) recently released a draft version of the “Trade Negotiating Authority Act of 2009,” intended to initiate debate over the appropriate objectives for negotiating trade agreements and an efficient “fast track” process for congressional consideration of implementing legislation. The NFTC’s draft bill, builds on existing Trade Promotion Authority (which expired on June 30, 2007) and includes new provisions that update negotiating objectives and reform the Congressional-Executive consultation process.

“Trade negotiating authority is vital to the future of U.S. trade policy, no matter the outcome of the election in November,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch, who unveiled the draft bill during a press roundtable at the NFTC this afternoon. “Regardless of whether we have a President Obama or a President McCain, the new Congress and the new Administration will have to have a trade policy and will have to grapple with what to do about the process for negotiating trade agreements. We are releasing our draft bill today to catalyze that deliberative process.”

The draft “Trade Negotiating Authority Act of 2009 includes significant reforms with respect to procedure and negotiating objectives, such as creating the Joint Committee on Trade (JCOT) in lieu of a Congressional Oversight Group. In addition, the NFTC draft bill includes transition rules, which clarify that agreements concluded and not acted upon by Congress retain their existing “fast track” status.

A complete summary of the proposed bill can be found here here.

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