The U.S. Senate this week is considering Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a measure to guarantee that Congress votes up-or-down on free trade agreements negotiated by the executive branch.
One amendment which has been offered to TPA is on the subject of so-called “currency manipulation.” Offered by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the amendment further defines the negotiation objectives on currency issues in any trade agreement. It does so in a way that goes beyond the strong protections already written into the TPA under consideration.
This amendment is not needed in this version of TPA. For the first time ever, currency manipulation is a mandated principle negotiating objective for the executive in a TPA. The TPA currency language has strong standards and enforceable rules. If all else fails, Congress can subject a currency-faulty trade agreement to a disapproval resolution.
Going beyond this with the Portman amendment is not necessary. Sufficient protections already exist in the TPA as drafted. Going any further upsets a negotiated agreement and could hamstring the executive in trade negotiations down the line.
ATR urges opposition to the currency manipulation amendment.