President Barack Obama recently signed into law a Trade Promotion Authority renewal bill and the Trade Preferences Extension Act, which includes Trade Adjustment Assistance.
The TPA is a measure that gives the President greater negotiating powers on trade deals, allowing only and up or down vote in Congress on such deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
TPP, the free trade agreement being negotiated with 11 other countries in the Pacific Rim, is geared at lowering tariffs and trade barriers. These 12 countries represent 39 per cent of the world economy.
The TPA gives Congress the ability to set negotiating guidelines for the United States up front, but at ratification it can only vote for or against the entire deal without making any changes.
Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program that provides aid to workers displaced by free trade deals, passed shortly afterwards as a separate piece of legislation. Obama also signed the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015.
The trade preferences law renews the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for ten years, extends the Haiti HOPE/HELP trade program until 2025, and retroactively renews the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, while updating it to remove an exclusion on travel goods. The law also makes important clarifications to the tariff classifications for protective active footwear and performance outerwear.