The TPA allows the United States to remain competitive with other countries. They have already negotiated more than 375 trade agreements. How many have the United States? Only 20. Without the TPA, countries will discuss with U.S. negotiators, but will not reach agreements. There are more than 100 trade agreements in a process that languished. Fast Track is the result of several years of reorientation of the legislative and executive powers in international trade policy. Before the twentieth century, the regulation of foreign trade was almost exclusively a prerogative of Congress. Rather, tariffs were seen as the function of national tax policy as such and had only been amended as such by a single act of Congress. The President`s main task in trade was to impose the tariffs set by Congress and to negotiate bilateral friendship, trade and navigation agreements that provided contractors with the most advantageous tariffs available.
The main challenge is to find a better balance in the rapid monitoring provisions. In principle, Congress is authorized to retain expedited processing for simple “non-consultation” reasons. But in practice, although Congress has not repeatedly authorized the renewal of the fast track general authority, it has never retained expedited procedures for an outstanding agreement. This indicates that Congress is more agitated in providing broad authority, which could be used in unforeseen circumstances, than with actual agreements under review. As long as the high-speed train has to be defended on the basis of the worst agreement that could be presented, the reconstruction will remain difficult. Fast Track`s power stems from the underlying political pact between Congress and the president, not from its legally prescribed safeguards, which are technically fragile. The Convention on Legislation on the Granting of Indeterminate Powers, which is limited in time, invites a regular and lively debate on whether trade is good or bad and whether the relationship between trade and labour and environmental standards exists. This approach has led to eight years of deadlock and polarizes the debate on the next vote in Parliament. Much better to assess the benefits and practical costs under specific agreements. The current impasse can be overcome by three procedural corrections: strengthening Congress` contribution to trade negotiations, limiting the application of the fast track procedure to agreements of its complexity and magnitude, and granting targeted powers to Congress and related substantive guidance for certain agreements. Such procedural issues would probably be at the centre of any Senate debate. In October 2011, Congress and President Obama adopted the Colombian trade agreement, the South Korean-U.S.
free trade agreement, and the “fast track” agreement between Panama and the United States, which the George W. Bush administration signed before the deadline.  Chairs would be well advised to postpone the search for the expedited procedure until convincing arguments can be made that the proposed negotiations will result in agreements that are complex and far-reaching enough to require a quick journey. Conversely, the president should continue to seek quick power for certain agreements – and Congress should continue to grant – and he should continue to grant it. It would be extremely damaging to American leaders if the current impasse continued and only promoted negotiations on agreements so uncontested that they would not be dismantled by Congress according to normal procedures. Fast Track allows the executive to unilaterally choose partner countries for “trade pacts,” adopt the content of agreements, and then negotiate and sign agreements – all before the vote of Congress! The normal procedures of congressional committees are prohibited, which means that the executive branch has the power to write long laws on its own without revision or amendment.