In recent weeks there has been a lot of media coverage of the "Fast Track" bill the U.S. Congress is looking at which would allow President Obama to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership ratified more easily.
For context, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an international trade agreement being negotiated between 12 countries including the U.S., and Fast Track, also called the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), is a proposed U.S. law that would allow the President to get an international trade agreement such as TPP ratified by Congress using a simplified procedure (no amendments being allowed, and a time limit on deliberations).
It's claimed that the U.S. passing Fast Track is essentially a prerequisite for the TPP being signed and ratified, because the other state parties are unlikely to be willing to put their best offers forward in the negotiations if said offers will still be subject to amendment and debate in the U.S. Congress.
If I'm understanding this correctly, the negotiating parties would basically like an assurance from the U.S. Congress that what they agree to will be ratified as-is and without delays (or else voted down wholesale, which presumably they believe to be unlikely), and Fast Track would give them that assurance.
My questions are:
- Are similar assurances requested from the legislatures of the other state parties?
- If yes, do they already have things similar to Fast Track in place?
- If not, what makes the U.S. Congress different from other legislatures that special assurances are required of it?