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Stephen Claeys Discusses How the TPA Will Affect Trump’s Plans to Renegotiate NAFTA  

September 5, 2018

Stephen J. Claeys, a partner in Wiley Rein’s International Trade Practice, was quoted in a September 4 Law360 article about proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by President Trump and how the most recent Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) law that Mr. Claeys helped draft as a Capitol Hill adviser would come into play.

As summarized by Law360, the White House notified Congress last month of its intent to sign a new agreement with Mexico within the next 90 days and said it was open to bringing Canada in on the deal. On September 1, President Trump suggested in a tweet that it was not necessary to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal and that Congress should not interfere with negotiations.

According to the article, some lawmakers expressed concern that if a new NAFTA deal does not include all three governments, it will not get protection under TPA, which expedites Congress’ consideration of the Administration’s trade deals. Law360 further reported that when the White House notified Congress last year of its intent to modernize NAFTA with both countries, as required by the TPA, some lawmakers expressed views that by virtue of the notification, bilateral deals with each country could not be given TPA protection.

The story notes, however, that TPA does not have a judicial review provision and it’s within the jurisdiction of Congress to determine whether the law’s provisions have been met. “The TPA requirements are self-judging, by Congress," said Mr. Claeys. “If ultimately Congress agrees that the notification was sufficient, then it was sufficient.”

The article can be found here (subscription required).