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Environment In Fast Track Trade Authority: Summary of the Clinton Administration Proposal

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Publication Date: October 1997

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 97-879

Topic: Trade (Export-import trade)


President Clinton has asked Congress for "fast track" authority for implementing future trade agreements; this authority would limit congressional debate and prevent amendments to implementing legislation. Delays in completing this proposal were attributed to difficulties in reconciling conflicting pressures over environment and labor concerns. The President's proposal contains references to environmental concerns, but various interests are likely to seek clarification on these points. On October 1, 1997, the Senate Finance Committee marked up and approved its version of fast-track legislation. For a discussion of this and other trade legislation, see CRS Issue Brief 97016, Trade Agreements: Renewing the Negotiating and Fast Track Implementing Authority. (See Endnote 1.) On September 16, 1997, President Clinton submitted to Congress the proposed Export Expansion and Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1997, legislation to renew the ''fast track'' authority for implementing future trade agreements. Fast track procedures provide for limited debate and no amendments to implementing legislation. There are expectations that the United States will soon begin negotiating expansion of free trade with Chile and other countries in the Western Hemisphere.