The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has released the President's trade policy agenda. In that agenda the President says he will ask Congress for Trade Promotion Authority; and he wants to pursue the Panama Free Trade Agreement. According to former USDA Trade Adviser Paul Drazek, the Panama FTA would be easier to pass with a larger Democratic Majority in Congress this year.
Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over international trade, said he's glad to see that the President moving forward on Panama, with some indication of movement on Colombia and South Korea as well. He also expressed his hope that the Administration does not attempt to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was mentioned during the Presidential campaign.
"That would send a terrible protectionist signal around the world and we don't want such a signal sent," Grassley said. "In fact at a time of recession that we are in, probably the worst thing we could do is turn protectionist; if we want a real economic stimulus, promote international trade."