U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said on Tuesday he hoped to pass legislation this year to boost the White House's ability to negotiate new trade agreements, renewing a law known as trade promotion authority that expired in 2007.
The Montana Democrat said he wanted to combine renewal of trade promotion authority (TPA) with renewal of trade adjustment assistance (TAA), a federal program that provides funding to help retrain workers that have lost their jobs because of import competition or factories moving overseas.
"TPA and TAA are two sides of the same coin making trade work. We need to renew and extend both of them this year," Baucus said at a hearing on the White House's trade agenda.
Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis told Baucus the administration was "ready to work" with Congress to approve the legislation, as it attempts to wrap up trade talks in the Asia Pacific this year and launch new trade talks with the European Union in coming months.