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Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), formerly called fast track, is the authority Congress has granted to the President for limited periods of time to negotiate reciprocal trade agreements. The authority lays out U.S. trade negotiating objectives, procedures for congressional-executive notification and consultation, and expedited legislative procedures under which bills implementing trade agreements negotiated by the executive branch are to be considered. The most recent authority was enacted in December 2002 and expired as of July 1, 2007. Legislation to reauthorize TPA has been introduced in the 113th Congress. The United States is engaged in several sets of trade agreement negotiations. The issue of TPA reauthorization has raised a number of questions regarding TPA itself and the pending legislation. This report addresses a number of those questions that are frequently asked, including:

• What is trade promotion authority?

• Is TPA necessary?

• What are trade negotiating objectives and how are they reflected in TPA statutes?

• What requirements does Congress impose on the President under TPA?

• Does TPA affect congressional authority on trade policy?


Suggested Citation
Cooper, W. H., Fergusson, I. F., & Beth, R. S. (2014). Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently asked questions. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.