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Movement Made Towards Agreement on Treatment of Pending FTAs

July 8, 2011

The Obama Administration reached an agreement on June 28th with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) regarding how to proceed with the three pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), and with the complementary trade program, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), that Democrats have insisted must be part of any plan for advancing the three FTAs.

Continued Senate Republican resistance regarding how to deal with TAA, however, prevented the Finance Committee from considering the FTAs on June 30th. All sides have been continuing to work to find a way forward on these issues, given a desire from all involved to see these agreements considered before the August congressional recess.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved the draft implementing bills for the three pending FTAs on July 7th, although the version the House panel approved does not include an extension of TAA. Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee also approved the draft implementing bills on July 7th, and its version did include a TAA extension. As this newsletter goes to press, there is not yet an agreement to submit the FTAs and TAA to a full vote in Congress.