WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today called on Congress to renew its commitment to international trade by approving legislation that would reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), saying such authority is critical to advancing free trade agreements.

“It is vitally important that Congress support international trade by tearing down barriers to markets and reducing tariffs,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We urge Congress to quickly pass TPA legislation in order to conclude trade agreements currently being negotiated.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore. and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. introduced legislation today that would renew TPA, which expired in 2007. Under TPA, Congress sets trade agreement negotiating objectives and priorities, consults with and provides oversight over the administration and retains authority to review and consider final agreements. After trade negotiations conclude, Congress is then required to approve the pacts with a straight up-or-down vote, without amendments.

“Promoting international trade will improve the lives of American families and workers,” Shay said. “Free and open trade benefits American consumers with more diverse and less expensive goods, supports American job growth and provides American companies with access to important overseas markets.”

In addition to TPA, NRF supports free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the retroactive reauthorization of the Generalized System of Preferences.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com

Source: NRF

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