Decades of trade deals brought only slight benefit to U.S. economy, commission says

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The size of the U.S economy, now at nearly $23 trillion, makes it hard for any single trade deal to have a major impact on growth. But previous administrations have touted how some pacts are important tools for strengthening relationships with allies and to boost exports for specific sectors, such as agriculture or financial services.

What the ITC examined: Congress ordered the report as part of the 2015 Trade Promotion Authority law. That legislation, which expires on Thursday, facilitates the approval of trade agreements by allowing the president to submit them to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote without any amendments.

Former President Barack Obama used the TPA law to finish negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the agreement on his third day in office.

The new ITC report looks at trade deals approved under similar negotiating authorities since 1984. Those include the North…

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