Update: TPA Passes After Being Tacked onto New Bill

July 27, 2015
By Lauren Felasco

US-Vietnam meeting

As a follow-up to last month’s article, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was tagged onto the Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act and signed into law on June 29.

Before TPA was enacted, supporting and opposing parties agreed on one thing: it would assist in locking down the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Also known as “fast-track,” TPA speeds up the legislative approval process for international trade agreements by limiting Congress to an up or down vote only. With TPA in effect, the President has more power to negotiate and implement trade agreements without Congress making amendments.

With TPA secured, President Obama has been wasting no time pushing forward with TPP negotiations. Following a meeting with Vietnam’s General Secretary, Nguyễn Phú Trọng, earlier this month, the U.S. and Vietnam issued a joint vision statement, released on July 7. President Obama and Vietnam’s General Secretary mentioned the U.S. and Vietnam are collaborating to wrap up TPP “as soon as possible.”

As a part of the negotiations, talks of the two countries teaming up have sparked rumors. A survey of U.S. fashion executives highlights expectations of sourcing changes in U.S. fashion within the next two years. The survey suggests U.S. sourcing moving away from China and towards Vietnam. At the same time, Vietnam is trying to end its reliance on China for textile materials like yarns and fabrics, according to The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. trade negotiators are demanding Vietnam reduce sourcing from China in exchange for preferential tariff treatment in the U.S.

The goal, according to The Wall Street Journal, is “to create new markets in Vietnam for the U.S. textile industry, which employs a quarter of a million Americans and exported $20 billion last year.”

 


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