Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy [February 8, 2011] [open pdf - 293KB]
"On July 1, 2007, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA--previously fast track) expired, and with it the authority that Congress grants to the President to enter into certain reciprocal (free) trade agreements, and to have the requisite implementing legislation considered under expedited legislative procedures. Although the President has the authority under the Constitution to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs), typically implementing legislation and thus congressional action are required to bring them into force. This report presents background and analysis on the development of TPA, a summary of the major provisions under the expired authority, and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal. It also explores the policy options available to Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33743
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/