Trade Promotion (Fast-Track) Authority: A Comparison of Bills Approved by the House and by the Senate with Notes on the Conference Report (H.R. 3009)

On July 27, 2002, the House passed (215-212) the conference report on H.R. 3009 ( H.Rept. 107-624 ), which contains, among other things, authorization of presidential trade promotion authority (TPA) . The Senate is expected to vote on the report during the week of July 29. Under TPA, the President can negotiate trade agreements that would be considered by the Congress under expedited legislative procedures that limit debate and permit no amendments. The conference report resulted from negotiations by Senate and House conferees over similar but different versions of the TPA legislation. This report provides an overview highlighting the most significant differences between the bills the House and Senate approved before the conference and the language the conference adopted in its report on H.R. 3009 . It contains a side-by-side analysis of the versions of the TPA legislation the House and Senate conferees brought to the conference. The Senate and House bills contained the same seven overall objectives, but the Senate bill added an eighth on small businesses that was retained in the conference report. The two bills had the same 13 principal objectives, but the Senate bill added four more on child labor, human rights, border taxes, and textile trade. All, except the one on human rights, were retained in the conference report. The conference added a principal objective on preserving and enforcing U.S. trade remedy laws. The two bills and conference report have almost identical language on the President's authority to proclaim tariff changes and to negotiate trade agreements with expedited procedures for an implementing bill. A major difference was a provision in the Senate bill, called the Dayton-Craig amendment, which would allow any provision amending U.S. trade remedy laws to be stricken from an implementing bill. That language was in neither the House bill nor the conference report. Both bills and the conference report have similar language on notification and consultation before and during negotiations, with special provisions for textiles and agriculture (the Senate bill and conference report also include fish and shellfish). They all require consultation with Congress before entering into an agreement. They would establish a Congressional Oversight Group. They have similar but not identical language allowing for withdrawal of expedited consideration of a trade agreement for lack of notice or consultation by the President. A major difference is the Senate bill and conference report would require notification by the President of proposed changes to trade remedy laws, although their provisions are different. The bills and conference report provide for adjustment to the pre-notification requirements where negotiations are underway and require a plan by the President to address enforcement. The Senate bill and conference report would require the ITC to report on past agreements implemented under expedited procedures and would recognize a small business advocate in the USTR.