The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says it plans to ask for a three-year extension of trade-promotion authority in order to negotiate new trade deals.
Robert Lighthizer says those discussions could be with Japan, Vietnam, and other members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership if they’re interested. Politico quotes Lighthizer as saying, “The Trump administration will aggressively negotiate trade deals designed to benefit all Americans.”
He spoke during an introduction to the USTR’s report on its annual trade agenda. The office intends to ask Congress to extend the President’s Trade Promotion Authority, also known as ‘fast track authority,’ to obtain an up or down vote on new trade agreements submitted to Congress. Lighthizer adds, “Based on our discussions with Congressional leaders, we believe there is strong support for such an extension, which would allow fast-track authority to remain in place until 2021.” The president has an April 1 deadline to formally request the extension in a letter to Congress. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, says it might not be a sure thing.
He looks forward to reviewing how the administration conducts itself on trade in the months ahead and hearing how the administration plans to use fast-track authority.