Senators Seek TPA Delay Until Steel Trade Decision Reached

By John S. McClenahen Fourteen U.S. senators are asking Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, D-N.D., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., to delay consideration of what the Administration dubs trade promotion authority (TPA) until after President Bush makes his decision in a major steel trade case. The White House has until March 6 to decide what, if any, actions to take to offset illegal foreign subsidies. "We are not asking you to indefinitely postpone any action on this [TPA] bill; we are only asking that we have a chance to measure the president's resolve on trade issues so vital to our states and the country as a whole," say Sen. John S. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., and 13 colleagues. TPA, still often referred to as fast-track authority, would allow the White House to send trade agreements to Congress for approval or rejection, but not for amendment. The president has been without such authority since 1994. "The fast-track legislation will help establish the goals and parameters of United States international trade policy for the next several years, most particularly for the round of World Trade Organization negotiations that was launched [last year] in Doha, Qatar. To consider this legislation without a final steel decision would not permit effective analysis of U.S. trade policy and the ramifications of fast-track legislation," contend the senators.

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