With no current instructions from Congress, the Obama administration has been negotiating trade deals under the rules Congress set more than a decade ago. These include ambitious, broad and controversial treaties with major partners across the Pacific and the Atlantic. Because these negotiations take up new and complex issues, even critics of the deals ought to be pushing Congress to update the president’s trade promotion authority, providing more transparency and more specific instructions on emerging issues such as state-sponsored businesses and intellectual property. The current proposals need work, but they’re heading in the right direction. If Congress wants these treaties to be more to its liking, lawmakers need to stop dithering and give the president a new set of marching orders on trade.
This editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times.