On December 9, 2015 Congress reached a final agreement on H.R. 644, the “Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.” The bipartisan, bicameral trade legislation authorizes U.S. Customs and Border Protection and puts in place effective tools to: (a) strengthen trade enforcement at the border; and, (b) facilitate the efficient movement of legitimate trade and travel. The Bill now will go to the President for signature.
News / Regulatory Updates
The U.S. and its 11 negotiating partners – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – reached preliminary agreement on October 5, 2015, on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would result in the world’s largest free-trade area, with a combined GDP of $27 trillion, equaling almost 40 percent of the global economy.
A Senate bill would instruct the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct a pilot study of lowering the age at which Class A CDL holders can drive trucks across state lines.
Over the last few weeks there have been two separate trade related bills making headlines.
Both the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) have the potential to help American workers. Understanding the purpose of each bill, and where the bill is at in Congress, can become a bit complicated. To help sift through the acronyms and related details, we have provided you a definition of each bill, as well as where the bill stands in the legislative approval process currently.
The House of Representatives by a narrow margin has passed and sent to the Senate the controversial FY2016 Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that President Barack Obama said he would veto if it reached his desk without major changes, including three involving the trucking industry.
Question: What is TPA?
Answer: Trade Promotion Authority—or TPA—is a partnership between Congress and the administration that helps secure the most effective trade agreements possible. It has three main components: a list of congressionally-prescribed negotiating objectives that sets priorities for the administration to follow; robust consultation and transparency requirements that give Congress adequate oversight of negotiations and give the public a full understanding of what an agreement would mean; and a streamlined procedure to vote on a trade agreement if the administration meets its TPA obligations.
Trade Agreements Put on Fast Track
The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA)  introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) easily passed its first hurdle when both House and Senate committees agreed to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The bipartisan legislation also allows Congress to vote on the treaties. But the package of bills intended to speed completion of the deal also imposes difficult burdens on its negotiators. The legislation faces difficult fights over amendments on human trafficking, currency and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is more than a Free Trade Agreement aimed at reducing tariffs among the participants. The TPP is an ambitious, 21 st century “comprehensive and high-standard” Free Trade Agreement that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services, including beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and remove Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT’s).
Please see the message below from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Food Facility Registration and Reportable Food Registry. The 2014 Biennial Food Facility Registration renewal period begins October 1st and ends December 31st. Visit FDA.gov for more information.