Fast track (trade promotion authority) - American business
Fast track is the media term for the authority, granted by Congress to the U.S. president, to negotiate trade agreements. Fast track allows the president to negotiate a trade agreement with the understanding that Congress will ratify or reject the treaty but will not amend the agreement. By granting the president fast-track authority, Congress limits its right and duty under the U.S. Constitution
to ratify any agreement the president enters into. Every U.S. president since 1974 has been granted fasttrack authority. Ronald Reagan used fast-track authority to negotiate the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement
(1989), and Bill Clinton used his fast-track authority to complete the NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
(NAFTA), initiated by George H. W. Bush in the early 1990s. At the 1994 Conference of the Americas in Miami, President Clinton assured Chile that they would be the next country allowed to join NAFTA. Congress then refused to renew Clinton’s fast-track authority, ending the expansion of NAFTA for the rest of his presidency. In 2001 President George W. Bush met with the leaders of 33 Western Hemisphere countries in Quebec, Canada, to initiate plans for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). At the conference, the president renamed fasttrack authority “trade promotion authority.” Even though the leaders agreed to create a free trade area
by 2005, unless Congress grants the president fast track/trade promotion authority, it is unlikely the effort will succeed.