International trade was a major issue during the 2016 Presidential campaign. The benefits and drawbacks of international trade were spotlighted by both the Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates. The candidates aggresively debated the merits of current trade agreements and the impact on the US economy — especially the implications for American job creation.
President Trump moved quickly in 2017 to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a recently negotiated multi-lateral trade agreement between the United States and countries from the Pacific Rim.
The Administration has expressed its concern about the United States engaging in multi-lateral free trade agreements, and has signaled a preference for bi-lateral trade deals with our trading partners.
The Trump Administration is currently renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. Trade negotiations are ongoing and trade negotiators have signaled they hope to have “updated” the trade agreement by the end of 2017.
The Trump Administration is also looking to renegotiate other free trade agreements such as the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) between the United States and South Korea.
Congress continues to have a role to play on trade since passing an extension of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Stakeholders can engage directly with the United State Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Commerce (DOC). In addition, since Congressional consultations are mandated under the terms of the “fast-track” trade negotiation process, it provides another opportunity to impact the process by engaging lawmakers in the Senate and House.