The case for passing fast-track trade legislation is simple: The most promising approach for advancing free trade in today's global economy is through negotiated trade agreements, and those agreements will be difficult if not impossible to reach if the president of the United States is denied fast-track authority.
Free trade allows Americans to live freer and more prosperous lives. Trade with other nations benefits consumers with lower prices and more choice, while producers gain export markets, new technology and lower-cost inputs. Export-related jobs in the United States pay more and are growing four times faster than non-export jobs.
To promote free trade, Congress should pass a "clean" fast-track bill, one that specifically forbids the inclusion of labor and environmental standards in future trade agreements. Adding labor and environmental issues to the agenda would only provide another pretext for protectionism.