On April 16, legislation was introduced to renew presidential trade promotion authority (TPA). Primary sponsors of The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 are Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). Their joint statement on the legislation, which includes links to the full text and a section-by-section summary, is available online.
The White House issued a statement supporting the legislation, as did U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack:
Opposition to the bill also surfaced quickly, however. House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-Michigan) issued a news release opposing the legislation, which is expected to be heard by the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, April 22.
On a related note, USTR has announced that Froman will travel to Tokyo this weekend to meet with his Japanese counterpart, Economy Minister Akira Amari, regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Lack of congressional action on TPA has been viewed as an impediment to progress on TPP, particularly with regard to the bilateral TPP talks between the U.S. and Japan. The two sides held working-level TPP meetings in Tokyo this week, prior to Froman’s arrival.