By Shawn Greene
At the so-called “Three Amigos Summit” in Toluca, Mexico, celebrating the 20th anniversary of NAFTA this week, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States have vowed to expand free trade agreements between North America and Asia while pushing for the successful conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations this year.
Speaking at the summit, President Obama expressed a determination to keep TPP progress on track despite many in the U.S. Congress indicating they will refuse to support a renewal of so-called ‘fast-track’ negotiating authority, or trade promotion authority.
Historically, trade promotion authority has been necessary for U.S. Presidents to successfully negotiate multi-nation international trade agreements, and ultimately submit them to Congress for ratification or rejection without an opportunity to amend or filibuster the agreement. For an agreement as large and complex as the TPP, presidential fast-track authority would likely make or break the agreement, as any Congressional amendments to the agreement would jeopardize its ratification in other negotiating countries.
“What I’ve said to President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Harper is that we’ll get this passed if it’s a good agreement,” President Obama said during an end-of-summit news conference with his North American counterparts.