RTAA`s innovative approach freed Roosevelt and Congress from breaking this trend of tariff increases. It has linked U.S. tariff reductions to reciprocal tariff reductions with international partners. It also allowed Congress to approve tariffs by a simple majority, unlike the two-thirds majority needed for other contracts. In addition, the President had the power to negotiate the terms. The three innovations in trade policy have created the political will and feasibility of a more liberal trade policy. [3] Reciprocity was an important principle of trade agreements negotiated under the RTAA, as it encouraged Congress to reduce tariffs. As more and more foreign countries have entered into bilateral tariff reduction agreements with the United States, exporters have been more encouraged to promote Congress in favour of even lower tariffs in many sectors. [3] Due to the Great Depression, tariffs were at a historically high level. Members of Congress have generally entered into informal quid-pro-quo agreements, in which they voted in favour of other members` preferential tariffs in order to gain the support of their members. No one took into account the overall toll for U.S. consumers or exporters. This practice is commonly referred to as logrolling.

Roosevelt and key members of his government made sure to put an end to the practice. [19] Secretary Hull`s first efforts were to reach reciprocal trade agreements with Latin American countries, a region considered crucial to U.S. trade and security, where rival powers (particularly Germany) gained ground at the expense of American exporters. However, until September 1939, Hull was only able to negotiate agreements with three out of ten South American countries, because the trade agenda was opposed by Latin Americans, who opposed the most favoured national requirement to abandon all bilateral agreements with other countries. Pressure from Congress, in the name of special interests, to ensure that Latin American countries do not have unrestricted access to the U.S. market, these countries would have been seriously hampered in their efforts to sell their raw materials abroad if they had abolished bilateral agreements with European countries that absorb much of their exports. The Trade Promotion Authority aims to create opportunities for domestic workers, just as Roosevelt`s RTAA supported job creation on the national territory through trade in New Deal programs. The TPA is an important element of trade negotiations because it allows Congress to define the terms of trade negotiations, consultations at Congress during negotiations and legislative procedures for voting on agreements. After the civil war, Democrats were generally in favor of trade liberalization and Republicans in general favored higher tariffs. The model was clearly in the congressional votes on tariffs from 1860 to 1930. Democrats were the minority in Congress in the majority of Congresses between the Civil War and the election of Roosevelt.

During their brief terms in the majority, Democrats passed several bills to reduce tariffs. Examples include the Wilson-Gorman Act of 1894 and the Underwood Tariff Act of 1913. However, successive Republican majorities have always reversed unilateral tariff cuts. [2] Between 1934 and 1945, the United States signed 32 reciprocal trade agreements with 27 countries. [4] In addition, the conclusion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was taken by the Authority under the RTAA. Eighty years later, the tradition of the Mutual Trade Agreements Act continues in the form of the Modern Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Like President Roosevelt, President Obama has made trade policy a central part of his economic strategy to create jobs, stimulate growth and strengthen the middle class.