Week 9 MT - WEEK IX CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION OF TRADE...

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WEEK IX  3/18/2009  CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION OF TRADE  AUTHORITY OVERVIEW     The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (RTAA)  passed in 1934.  Part of the aftermath of the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930 and the economic  turmoil of the great depression. Roosevelt and Congressional Democrats had delegation passed to the  executive. Congress gave the executive branch (President) the authority to negotiate  trade agreements (subject to certain provisions). He could negotiate to adjust tariffs (but not by more than 50%) Agreements could be negotiated with  Principal suppliers  only Legislation revisited at 2-3 year intervals to monitor delegation NB      Once the RTAA was passed, all negotiated agreements (within the  above parameters) were automatically US law by  executive agreement. FAST TRACK  legislation the direct successor to the RTAA. This was passed in 1974 under Richard Nixon’s administration. From 1934  to 1974, the RTAA was the basis for US participation in the General  Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and other trade agreements. Fast track was similar to RTAA:
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Congress continues to  delegate authority to the President, to lend him  credibility in international negotiations Congress continues exercising oversight (setting of parameters,  monitoring agreements) There were some differences: New ex-post ratification feature (Agreements no longer automatically  US law) Both houses of Congress must pass a majority vote Congress had procedural constraints – in order not to bias the process of  the passage of executive-negotiated agreements: Congress cannot propose or make amendments to change  agreements 90 period of action to vote on agreements Debate limited to 20 hours (no filibustering) Agreements brought to Congress for ex-post ratification simply faced an  up or down vote. Fast track was passed in 1974, and renewed in ’79, ’84, ’88, ’91 and ‘93 In 1994, fast track authority lapsed. Clinton became the first US President  since FDR’s first term  not  to have Congressional delegation of trade  authority. Trade promotion authority was granted to George W. Bush in 2002, but it  lapsed in 2007, having yet to be renewed. Major negotiations under the Fast track: The GATT: Tokyo round, Uruguay  round at the end of which the WTO was established. What is it about Fast track  that Brainard and Shapiro (authors of readings)  don’t like? What are the general problems with it?
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- Less Presidential credibility in negotiations (ex-post ratification vote) –  though there is still more than with no fast track i.e. 2/3 Congressional  majority needed before RTAA. - Trade agreements made under divided government (the President has to 
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2009 for the course POL 173A taught by Professor Chase during the Spring '09 term at Brandeis.

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Week 9 MT - WEEK IX CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION OF TRADE...

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