The Senate is debating legislation to renew the White House’s Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as “fast-track,” to help speed up congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Among the considerations driving the TPA debate is the bill’s language on currency manipulation.
“The currency language is the kind of thing that can draw bipartisan support,” said Eric Shimp, policy advisor in Alston & Bird’s International Trade & Regulatory Group. “From a free trade perspective, I would welcome any member of the U.S. Senate actually noting that if those types of currency provisions become law, that America’s own quantitative easing policies would then be a violation.”
The recent leak of the TPP’s investment chapter fueled debate from Investor-State Dispute Settlement opponents.
“You should really expect something to further strengthen the sovereignty of U.S. domestic law in any area where it could come under challenge by investor-state arbitration and further attempts to limit the ability of foreign plaintiffs to sue any state or local government in terms of how it regulates in their respective economies,” Shimp said.
Though there are clearly Democratic backers of both fast-track and the TPP, scuttling the deal through a lengthy amendment process may very well be the intention of the upper chamber's most progressive lawmakers, according to Shimp.
“They want to drag it out and they also want to use the debate over TPA as a specific challenge to the TPP itself, because there is opposition there and they figure if they frustrate TPP, then we'll never get the TPP done,” he said.