Bush Gains New Powers To Negotiate Trade Deals

By Agence France-Presse President George W. Bush signed legislation Aug. 6 that grants him broad powers to broker a slew of new international trade agreements. The trade promotion authority allows Bush to sign trade pacts while restricting Congress to a simple "yes" or "no" vote -- but no amendments -- once the agreements have been struck. Bush becomes the first president to enjoy such trade negotiating rights in eight years. "Since the authority lapsed in 1994, other nations and regions have pursued new trade agreements while America's trade policy was stuck in 'park'," Bush said. "With each passing day, America has lost trading opportunities and the jobs and earnings that go with them. Starting now, America is back at the bargaining table in full force." The legislation was passed by the Senate on Aug. 1 by a vote of 64-34 after a campaign that bridged stubborn partisan differences over the treatment of labor and environmental issues in trade talks. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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