The Senate’s passage of a bill late Thursday to renew two trade programs brings three long-stalled trade agreements closer to passage.
The Senate voted 70-27 to renew the Generalized System of Preferences, a program that allows imports from selected developing countries to enter duty-free, and Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides assistance to workers displaced by foreign competition.
House and Senate now wait to receive from the White House free trade agreements between the U.S. and South Korea, Colombia and Panama.
Under terms of the president’s trade promotion or “fast track” authority, the administration submits the FTAs to Congress with no provision for amendment. However, both houses signaled what they expected in the agreements through “mock mark-up” sessions last summer.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said the next step if for the administration to offer the FTAs promptly.
“Congress has in good faith shown a clear path forward on the pending trade agreements, GSP, and TAA,” Camp said. “Now is the time for the President to show leadership on trade and work together with us to bring the trade agreements, GSP, and TAA across the goal line.”
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