Trade bills: Fair wind blowing

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Trade bills


What a trade deal with Asia could most usefully include



PRESIDENT Barack Obama and Republican leaders this week showed what bipartisan politics looks like. After days of manoeuvres, including a revolt by leftish Democrats, Congress voted to give Mr Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a “fast-track” mandate to pursue trade pacts which Congress may not later re-open and amend.
Negotiators may now press on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal uniting America and 11 Pacific Rim countries, between them accounting for 40% of global economic output. Now comes the task of reaching a good deal.

When pitching TPP on Capitol Hill, trade envoys often talk about lowering tariff barriers. Favourite examples include a 40% tariff slapped on American poultry in Malaysia and a 27% tariff on American car parts in Vietnam. Time to level the playing field, they argue: American markets …

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