By: Lynn Reaser
The Obama Administration is asking Congress to adopt “fast track” legislation that would facilitate the approval of international trade agreements. By allowing only a “yes or no” vote on trade bills, the logjams that seem to consistently strangle bills in the House and/or Senate could be avoided in the consideration of key trade agreements that the U.S. has negotiated with other countries.
Expanding international trade and investment is one of the best economic polices a country can pursue both for its own interests and those of the world at large. Because trade agreements usually face a long and tortuous negotiations process, avoiding another series of roadblocks in our own Congress by only allowing an “up-or-down” vote would be beneficial. If Congress were to instead make various modifications, the entire negotiating process would have to restart with other nations.
The United States is at a critical juncture in terms of two multinational trade agreements—one with the European Union and one with the Pacific Rim. Easier access to markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia would be a major win for San Diego companies and jobs.