Industry and Trade

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues and U.S. Engagement

Congress may review existing U.S. policies and programs in sub-Saharan Africa (henceforth, “Africa”) as it establishes its budgetary and policy priorities and responds to developments in the region. Key enduring issues for Congress include the authorization and appropriation of funding for U.S. foreign aid programs and U.S. military activities in the region, and oversight of U.S. programs and policies.

Economic and Development Issues. Much of Africa experienced rapid economic growth starting in the early 2000s, reducing poverty and expanding the middle class in some countries. Since 2014,...

U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications

The economic and trade relationship with Mexico is of interest to U.S. policymakers because of Mexico’s proximity to the United States, the extensive trade and investment relationship under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the conclusion of the NAFTA renegotiations and the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the strong cultural and economic ties that connect the two countries. Also, it is of national interest for the United States to have a prosperous and democratic Mexico as a neighboring country. Mexico is the United States’ third-largest trading partner,...

U.S. Trade Trends and Developments

Summary

The United States is the world’s biggest economy (in nominal dollars), leading trading nation (goods and services), and largest source of and destination for foreign direct investment. The U.S. output of goods and services, or gross domestic product (GDP), totaled $19.5 trillion in 2017. That is almost the combined GDP in nominal dollars of the next three largest economies. All told, the United States, with close to 5% of the world’s population, accounted for almost 25% of the world’s output and more than 16% of its growth in 2017. While the United States is the world’s largest...

World Trade Organization: Overview and Future Direction

Historically, the United States’ leadership of the global trading system has ensured the United States a seat at the table to shape the international trade agenda in ways that both advance and defend U.S. interests. The evolution of U.S. leadership and the global trade agenda remain of interest to Congress, which holds constitutional authority over foreign commerce and establishes trade negotiating objectives and principles through legislation. Congress has recognized the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the “foundation of the global trading system” within trade promotion authority (TPA)...

Iran Sanctions

U.S. sanctions have had a substantial effect on Iran’s economy and on some major strategic decisions, but little or no effect on Iran’s regional malign activities. During 2012-2015, when the global community was relatively united in pressuring Iran, Iran’s economy shrank by 9% per year, crude oil exports fell from about 2.5 million barrels per day (mbd) to about 1.1 mbd, and Iran was unable to repatriate more than $120 billion in reserves held in banks abroad. The 2015 multilateral nuclear accord (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) provided Iran broad relief from the...

U.S. Sanctions on Russia

Sanctions are considered by many to be a central element of U.S. policy to counter Russian malign behavior. Most Russia-related sanctions have been in response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine. In addition, the United States has imposed sanctions on Russia in response to human rights abuses, election interference and cyberattacks, weapons proliferation, illicit trade with North Korea, support to Syria, and use of a chemical weapon. The United States also employs sanctions to deter further objectionable activities. Most Members of Congress support a robust use of sanctions amid concerns...

Section 232 Investigations: Overview and Issues for Congress

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. §1862) provides the President with the ability to impose restrictions on certain imports based on an affirmative determination by the Department of Commerce (Commerce) that the product under investigation “is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.” Section 232 actions are of interest to Congress because they are a delegation of Congress’s constitutional authority “To lay and collect ... Duties” and “To regulate Commerce with foreign...

The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress

The Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 (P.L. 81-774, 50 U.S.C. §§4501 et seq.), as amended, confers upon the President a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense.

Though initially passed in response to the Korean War, the DPA is historically based on the War Powers Acts of World War II. Gradually, Congress has expanded the term...

Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Incentives: A Summary of Federal Programs

A wide array of federal incentives supports the development and deployment of alternatives to conventional fuels and engines in transportation. These incentives include tax deductions and credits for vehicle purchases and the installation of refueling systems, federal grants for conversion of older vehicles to newer technologies, mandates for the use of biofuels, and incentives for manufacturers to produce alternative fuel vehicles. The current array of incentives for alternative fuels and related technologies does not reflect a single, comprehensive strategy, but rather an aggregative...

Cybersecurity: Legislation, Hearings, and Executive Branch Documents

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities challenge governments, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Attacks have been initiated against individuals, corporations, and countries. Targets have included government networks, companies, and political organizations, depending upon whether the attacker was seeking military intelligence, conducting diplomatic or industrial espionage, engaging in cybercrime, or intimidating political activists. In addition, national borders mean little or nothing to cyberattackers, and attributing an attack to a specific location can be difficult, which may make responding...

The U.S. Export Control System and the Export Control Reform Initiative

Difficulty with striking an appropriate balance between national security and export competitiveness has made the subject of export controls controversial for decades. Through the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the Export Controls Act of 2018 (ECA), and other authorities, the United States restricts the export of defense articles; dual-use goods and technology; certain nuclear materials and technology; and items that would assist in the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons or the missile technology used to...

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

Japan is a significant partner of the United States in a number of foreign policy areas, particularly in security concerns, which range from hedging against Chinese military modernization to countering threats from North Korea. The U.S.-Japan military alliance, formed in 1952, grants the U.S. military the right to base U.S. troops—currently around 50,000 strong—and other military assets on Japanese territory, undergirding the “forward deployment” of U.S. troops in East Asia. In return, the United States pledges to protect Japan’s security.

Although candidate Donald Trump made statements...

Trade Related Agencies: FY2019 Appropriations, Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS)

On February 12, 2018, the Trump Administration submitted its FY2019 budget request to Congress. The proposal includes a total of $590.8 million for three trade-related agencies— the International Trade Administration (ITA), the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). This is 8.9% less than the FY2018 total appropriated amounts for these agencies. The Administration requests reducing funding for all three trade-related agencies. For FY2019, the request includes $440.1 million in direct funding for ITA (an 8.7% decrease...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues in the 115th Congress

Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean, based on diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political, and security concerns. The United States is a major trading partner and the largest source of foreign investment for many countries in the region, with free-trade agreements enhancing economic linkages with 11 countries. The region is a large source of U.S. immigration, both legal and illegal; proximity and economic and security conditions are major factors driving migration. Curbing the flow of illicit drugs has...

The Trump Administration’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”: Issues for Congress

The Trump Administration has outlined a goal of promoting a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), seeking to articulate U.S. strategy towards an expanded Indo-Asia-Pacific region at a time when China’s presence across the region is growing. The FOIP initiative is identified through a number of statements by the President and senior Administration officials. Insight into the initiative’s context and perspective is also offered by the Administration’s National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy. The FOIP concept represents a significant change in U.S. strategic thinking towards...

Costs of Government Interventions in Response to the Financial Crisis: A Retrospective

In August 2007, asset-backed securities (ABS), particularly those backed by subprime mortgages, suddenly became illiquid and fell sharply in value as an unprecedented housing boom turned into a housing bust. Losses on the many ABS held by financial firms depleted their capital. Uncertainty about future losses on illiquid and complex assets led to firms having reduced access to private liquidity, sometimes catastrophically. In September 2008, the financial crisis reached panic proportions, with some large financial firms failing or needing government assistance to prevent their...

The G-20 and International Economic Cooperation: Background and Implications for Congress

The Group of Twenty (G-20) is a forum for advancing international cooperation and coordination among 20 major advanced and emerging-market economies. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union (EU). G-20 countries account for about 85% of global economic output, 75% of global exports, and two-thirds of the world’s population.

Originally established in 1999, the G-20 rose to prominence...

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Frequently Asked Questions

Legislation to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)—sometimes called “fast track”—the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015), was signed into law by President Obama on June 29, 2015 (P.L. 114-26). If the President negotiates an international trade agreement that would reduce tariff or nontariff barriers to trade in ways that require changes in U.S. law, the United States can implement the agreement only through the enactment of legislation. If the trade agreement and the process of negotiating it meet certain requirements, TPA allows...

China-U.S. Trade Issues

U.S.-China economic ties have expanded substantially since China began reforming its economy and liberalizing its trade regime in the late 1970s. Total U.S.-China merchandise trade rose from $2 billion in 1979 (when China’s economic reforms began) to $636 billion in 2017. China is currently the United States’ largest merchandise trading partner, its third-largest export market, and its biggest source of imports. In 2015, sales by U.S. foreign affiliates in China totaled $482 billion. Many U.S. firms view participation in China’s market as critical to their global competitiveness. U.S....

The House and Senate 2018 Farm Bills (H.R. 2): A Side-by-Side Comparison with Current Law

Congress sets national food and agriculture policy through periodic omnibus farm bills that address a broad range of farm and food programs and policies. The 115th Congress has the opportunity to establish the future direction of farm and food policy, because many of the provisions in the current farm bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014, P.L. 113-79) expire in 2018.

On June 21, 2018, the House voted 213-211 to approve H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, an omnibus farm bill that would authorize farm and food policy for FY2019-FY2023. The Senate passed its version of H.R. 2,...

NAFTA Renegotiation and Modernization

The 115th Congress faces policy issues related to the Trump Administration’s renegotiation and modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA negotiations were first launched in 1992 under President George H. W. Bush and continued under President Bill Clinton. President Clinton signed the agreement into law on December 8 1993 (P.L. 103-182), and NAFTA entered into force on January 1, 1994. It is particularly significant because it was the most comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated at the time, contained several groundbreaking provisions, and was the...

OPIC, USAID, and Proposed Development Finance Reorganization

Members of Congress and Administrations have periodically considered reorganizing the federal government’s trade and development functions to advance various policy objectives. In its 2019 budget request, the Trump Administration included a proposal to consolidate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and other agency development finance functions, specifically noting the Development Credit Authority (DCA) of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), into a new U.S. development finance agency. The policy objectives that the new agency would aim to support include...

Multilateral Development Banks: Overview and Issues for Congress

Multilateral development banks (MDBs) provide financial assistance to developing countries in order to promote economic and social development. The United States is a member, and donor, to five major MDBs: the World Bank and four regional development banks, including the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The MDBs primarily fund large infrastructure and other development projects and provide loans tied to policy reforms by the government. The MDBs provide non-concessional...

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency body comprised of nine Cabinet members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President, that assists the President in overseeing the national security aspects of foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy. While the group often operated in relative obscurity, the perceived change in the nation’s national security and economic concerns following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in...

The House Agriculture Committee’s 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2): A Side-by-Side Comparison with Current Law

Congress sets national food and agriculture policy through periodic omnibus farm bills. The 115th Congress has the opportunity to establish the future direction of farm and food policy because many of the provisions in the current farm bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014, P.L. 113-79) expire in 2018. The 2014 farm bill addresses a broad range of farm and food programs and policies, including commodity support, crop insurance, conservation, domestic food assistance, trade and food aid, credit, rural development, research, horticulture, forestry, and bioenergy, among others.

On June 21,...

Trade Deficits and U.S. Trade Policy

The economic effects of the U.S. trade deficit have been a topic of long-standing congressional interest. The U.S. Constitution grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations and to lay and collect duties, and Congress exercises this authority in numerous ways. These include oversight of trade policy and consideration of legislation to implement trade agreements and to authorize trade programs. In some cases, Congress has delegated certain authorities over trade policy to the Executive Branch: for example, to facilitate trade negotiations.

As part of efforts to...

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations

Venezuela remains in a deep political crisis under the authoritarian rule of President Nicolás Maduro of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). On May 20, 2018, Maduro defeated Henri Falcón, a former governor, in a presidential election boycotted by the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) of opposition parties and dismissed by the United States, the European Union, and 18 Western Hemisphere countries as illegitimate. Maduro, who was narrowly elected in 2013 after the death of President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), is unpopular. Nevertheless, he has used the courts, security forces, and...

Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress

Exchange rates are among the most important prices in the global economy. They affect the price of every country’s imports and exports, as well as the value of every overseas investment. Over the past decade, some Members of Congress have been concerned that foreign countries are using exchange rate policies to gain an unfair trade advantage against other countries, or “manipulating” their currencies. Congressional concerns have focused on China’s foreign exchange interventions over the past decade to weaken its currency against the U.S. dollar, although concerns have also been raised...

Canada-U.S. Relations

Relations between the United States and Canada traditionally have been close, bound together by a common 5,500-mile border—“the longest undefended border in the world”—as well as by shared history and values. The countries have long-standing mutual security commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), and continue to work together to address international security challenges, such as the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq and Syria. Canada and the United States also maintain close intelligence and law enforcement ties...

Money for Something: Music Licensing in the 21st Century

Songwriters and recording artists are legally entitled to get paid for (1) reproductions and public performances of the notes and lyrics they create (the musical works), as well as (2) reproductions, distributions, and certain digital performances of the recorded sound of their voices combined with instruments (the sound recordings). The amount they get paid, as well as their control over their music, depends on market forces, contracts among a variety of private-sector entities, and laws governing copyright and competition policy.

Congress first enacted laws governing music licensing in...

Vehicle Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Standards: Frequently Asked Questions

The Trump Administration announced on April 2, 2018, its intent to revise through rulemaking the federal standards that regulate fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new passenger cars and light trucks. These standards include the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Light-Duty Vehicle GHG emissions standards promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are known collectively—along with California’s Advanced Clean Car...

The International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), conceived at the Bretton Woods conference in July 1944, is the multilateral organization focused on the international monetary system. Created in 1946 with 46 members, it has grown to include 189 countries. The IMF has six purposes that are outlined in Article I of the IMF Articles of Agreement: promoting international monetary cooperation; expanding the balanced growth of international trade; facilitating exchange rate stability; eliminating restrictions on the international flow of capital; ensuring confidence by making the general resources of the...

Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Deployment

Legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives—H.R. 3388—and pending in the Senate—S. 1885—would provide new regulatory tools to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to oversee autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are seen as a way to reduce motor vehicle crashes; for example, there were 37,461 deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2016 and nearly all of them were caused by driver error. However, despite unanimous approval in House and Senate committees and on the House floor, the legislation has proven controversial in the wake of several high-profile...

Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements: Issues for Congress

Congress plays a prominent role in shaping, debating, and approving legislation to implement trade agreements, and over the past three decades, bilateral and regional trade agreements (RTAs, or free trade agreements (FTAs) in the U.S. context) have become a primary source of new international trade liberalization commitments. The United States has historically pursued FTAs to open markets for U.S. goods, services, and agriculture, and establish trade rules and disciplines to enhance overall domestic and global economic growth. They are actively debated and can be contentious due to...

Digital Trade and U.S. Trade Policy

As the global Internet develops and evolves, digital trade has become more prominent on the global trade and economic policy agenda. The economic impact of the Internet was estimated to be $4.2 trillion in 2016, making it the equivalent of the fifth-largest national economy. Growing faster than international trade or financial flows, the volume of global data flows grew 45-fold from 2005 to 2014.

Congress has an important role to play in shaping global digital trade policy, from oversight of agencies charged with regulating cross-border data flows to shaping and considering legislation...

Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy: CRS Experts

S

cience, technology, and innovation (STI) play important roles in the nation’s economic and military strength, public health and safety, and the quality of our lives. Individuals, companies, governments, universities, and other organizations fund, conduct, disseminate, and acquire science and technology for a myriad of purposes. Among the purposes: providing for the national defense and homeland security; improving manufacturing processes and enabling the manufacture of new products; developing new materials; advancing computing and communications tools; preventing and treating disease,...

Generalized System of Preferences (GSP): Overview and Issues for Congress

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program provides nonreciprocal, duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated beneficiary developing countries (BDCs). The United States, the European Union, and other developed countries have implemented similar programs since the 1970s. Congress first authorized the U.S. program in Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, and most recently extended it until December 31, 2020 in Division M, Title V of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141).

The GSP program was also retroactively renewed for all...

Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2018 Appropriations: Trade-Related Agencies

This report tracks and provides an overview of actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2018 appropriations for the International Trade Administration (ITA), the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). These three trade-related agencies are funded through the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations act. This report also provides an overview of three trade-related programs administered by ITA, USITC, and USTR.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (P.L....

U.S. Trade with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Partners

During the Obama Administration, the United States negotiated two mega-regional free trade agreements that its participants argued were comprehensive and high-standard: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among the United States and 11 other countries, and the U.S.-European Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The 12 TPP countries signed the agreement in February 2016, but the agreement required ratification by each country before it could enter into force. In the United States, this required implementing legislation by Congress. Upon taking office, President Trump...

The Economic Effects of Trade: Overview and Policy Challenges

During the Obama Administration, the United States negotiated two comprehensive and high-standard mega-regional free trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among the United States and 11 other countries, and the U.S.-European Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The 12 TPP countries signed the agreement in February 2016, but the agreement required ratification by each country before it could enter into force. In the United States this requires implementing legislation by Congress. Upon taking office, President Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP...

U.S-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Key Issues in 2018

President Trump’s decision in January 2017 to withdraw the United States from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement removed a major focus of trade relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) since 2008. As a result, trade relations are likely to refocus onto various bilateral trade issues such as the rising U.S. bilateral merchandise trade deficit with Vietnam, Vietnam’s desire to be recognized as a market economy, and various elements of each nation’s trade policies and regulations. Congress may play a role in each of these trade issues.

Over the...

Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2019

This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs) since 2000.

Multilateral development banks provide financial assistance to developing countries in order to promote economic and social development. The United States belongs to several multilateral development banks, including the World Bank and four regional development banks (the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and...

Softwood Lumber Imports from Canada: Current Issues

Softwood lumber imports from Canada have been a persistent concern for Congress for decades. Canada is an important trading partner for the United States, but lumber production is a significant industry in many states. U.S. lumber producers claim they are at an unfair competitive disadvantage in the domestic market against Canadian lumber producers because of Canada’s timber pricing policies. This has resulted in five major disputes (so-called lumber wars) between the United States and Canada since the 1980s.

The current dispute (Lumber V) started when the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement...

U.S. Trade Deficit and the Impact of Changing Oil Prices

Imported petroleum prices fell from an average price of $91.23 per barrel of crude oil in 2014 to an average price of $32.60 per barrel in 2016, or a drop of more than 60%. This represents the lowest price per barrel of crude oil since early 2005. During 2017, the average monthly price per barrel of oil rose nearly 20% to reach an average of $52 per barrel by December 2017 and continued rising in 2018 to reach nearly $70 per barrel in early April 2018. Reflecting rising prices, the volume of crude oil imports for 2017 was nearly flat for the year compared with volume changes in 2016. The...

U.S. Trade Policy Primer: Frequently Asked Questions

Congress plays a major role in U.S. trade policy through its legislative and oversight authority. Since the end of World War II, U.S. trade policy has focused on fostering an open, rules-based global trading system, liberalizing markets by reducing trade and investment barriers through negotiations and agreements, and enforcing trade commitments and related laws. International trade and investment issues can affect the overall health of the U.S. economy and specific sectors, the success of U.S. businesses, U.S. employment opportunities, and the overall standard of living of Americans. The...

The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues

The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force on May 15, 2012. It is a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Colombia, which will eventually eliminate tariffs and other barriers in bilateral trade in goods and services. On October 3, 2011, during the 112th Congress, President Barack Obama submitted draft legislation (H.R. 3078/S. 1641) that was introduced by request in both houses of Congress to implement the agreement. On October 12, 2011, the House passed H.R. 3078 (262-167) and sent it to the Senate. The Senate passed the implementing...

Cybersecurity: Selected Issues for the 115th Congress

Cybersecurity has been gaining attention as a national issue for the past decade. During this time, the country has witnessed cyber incidents affecting both public and private sector systems and data. These incidents have included attacks in which data was stolen, altered, or access to it was disrupted or denied. The frequency of these attacks, and their effects on the U.S. economy, national security, and people’s lives have driven cybersecurity issues to the forefront of congressional policy conversations. This report provides an overview of selected cybersecurity concepts and a...

International Trade and Finance: Overview and Issues for the 115th Congress

The U.S. Constitution grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Congress exercises this authority in numerous ways, including through oversight of trade policy and consideration of legislation to implement trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover areas such as U.S. trade negotiations, U.S. trade and economic relations with specific regions and countries, international institutions focused on trade, tariff and nontariff barriers, worker dislocation due to trade liberalization, enforcement of trade laws and trade agreement commitments,...

Puerto Rico: CRS Experts

SUPPRESS Puerto Rico is in the midst of a fiscal crisis resulting from economic contraction, public sector debt, outmigration, and other factors. To address the crisis, Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; P.L. 114-187), which was enacted on June 30, 2016. PROMESA established the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (Oversight Board), created processes for adjusting the island’s public debts, among other provisions. PROMESA allocated no federal funds to Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rican Governor was charged with...

China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States

Prior to the initiation of economic reforms and trade liberalization nearly 40 years ago, China maintained policies that kept the economy very poor, stagnant, centrally controlled, vastly inefficient, and relatively isolated from the global economy. Since opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free-market reforms in 1979, China has been among the world’s fastest-growing economies, with real annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging 9.5% through 2017, a pace described by the World Bank as “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history.” Such...

U.S. Trade in Services: Trends and Policy Issues

Trade in “services” refers to a wide and growing range of economic activities. These activities include transport, tourism, financial services, use of intellectual property, telecommunications and information services, government services, maintenance, and other professional services from accounting to legal services. Compared to goods, the types and volume of services that can be traded are limited by factors such as the requirement for direct buyer-provider contact, and other unique characteristics such as the reusability of services (e.g., professional consulting) for which traditional...

Venezuela’s Economic Crisis: Issues for Congress

Venezuela’s Economic Crisis: Overview

Venezuela is facing a political crisis under the authoritarian rule of President Nicolás Maduro, who appears to have continued to consolidate power over the political opposition in recent months. Underpinning Venezuela’s political crisis is an economic crisis. Venezuela is a major oil producer and exporter, and the 2014 crash in oil prices, combined with years of economic mismanagement, hit Venezuela’s economy hard. Venezuela’s economy has contracted by 35% since 2013, a larger contraction than the United States experienced during the Great Depression....

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): An Overview

In the ongoing energy debate in Congress, one recurring issue has been whether to allow oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR, or the Refuge) in northeastern Alaska. ANWR is rich in fauna and flora and also has significant oil and natural gas potential. Energy development in the Refuge has been debated for more than 50 years. On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law P.L. 115-97, which provides for an oil and gas program on ANWR’s Coastal Plain. The Congressional Budget Office estimated federal revenue from the program’s first two lease sales at...

U.S. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Exports: Prospects for the Caribbean

With the advent of shale gas, the United States has transformed from a growing importer of natural gas to a burgeoning exporter. Exports by pipeline and ship have grown in the last couple of years. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in 2013 were about 13 billion cubic feet (bcf), while in 2016 that figure jumped to almost 184 bcf. This increase can mostly be attributed to the opening of the Sabine Pass Liquefaction facility in Louisiana in February 2016.

Despite the large volumes associated with the large-scale U.S. LNG export terminals, like Sabine Pass Liquefaction, there has also been...

Taiwan: Issues for Congress

Taiwan, which officially calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), is an island democracy of 23 million people located across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China. It is the United States’ tenth-largest trading partner. Since January 1, 1979, the U.S. relationship with Taiwan has been unofficial, a consequence of the Carter Administration’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and break formal diplomatic ties with self-ruled Taiwan, over which the PRC claims sovereignty. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA, P.L. 96-8; 22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.),...

Renegotiating NAFTA and U.S. Textile Manufacturing

When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was negotiated more than two decades ago, textiles and apparel were among the industrial sectors most sensitive to the agreement’s terms. NAFTA, which was implemented on January 1, 1994, has encouraged the integration of textile and apparel production in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. For example, under NAFTA’s “yarn-forward” rule of origin, textiles and apparel benefit from tariff-free treatment in all three countries if the production of yarn, fabric, and apparel, with some exceptions, is done within North America.

The United...

Selected International Insurance Issues in the 115th Congress

The growth of the international insurance market and trade in insurance products and services has created opportunities and new policy issues for U.S. insurers, Congress, and the U.S. financial system. Insurance regulation is centered on the states, with the federal government having a limited role. While the risks of loss and the regulation may be local, the business of insurance, as with many financial services, has an increasingly substantial international component as companies and investors look to grow and diversify. International insurance trade is covered in the World Trade...

U.S.-UK Free Trade Agreement: Prospects and Issues for Congress

Prospects for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and the United Kingdom (UK) are of increasing interest for both sides. In a national referendum held on June 23, 2016, a majority of British voters supported the UK exiting the European Union (EU), a process known as “Brexit.” The Brexit referendum has prompted calls from some Members of Congress and the Trump Administration to launch U.S.-UK FTA negotiations, though other Members have moderated their support with calls to ensure that such negotiations do not constrain the promotion of broader transatlantic...

Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms

As Congress considers potential legislation related to trade agreements, the potential impact on U.S. workers and firms is part of the debate. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs were first authorized by Congress in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to help workers and firms adapt to import competition and dislocation caused by trade liberalization. While trade liberalization may increase the overall economic welfare of all the affected trade partners, it can also cause adjustment problems for firms and workers facing import competition, and adjustment assistance has long been...

Arab League Boycott of Israel

The Arab League, an umbrella organization comprising 22 Middle Eastern and African countries and entities, has maintained an official boycott of Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods since the founding of Israel in 1948. The boycott is administered by the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office, a specialized bureau of the Arab League.

The boycott has three tiers. The primary boycott prohibits citizens of an Arab League member from buying from, selling to, or entering into a business contract with either the Israeli government or an Israeli citizen. The secondary boycott extends the...

Russia: Background and U.S. Policy

Over the last five years, Congress and the executive branch have closely monitored and responded to new developments in Russian policy. These developments include the following: increasingly authoritarian governance since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidential post in 2012; Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support of separatists in eastern Ukraine; violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; Moscow’s intervention in Syria in support of Bashar al Asad’s government; increased military activity in Europe; and cyber-related influence...

Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework

The financial regulatory system has been described as fragmented, with multiple overlapping regulators and a dual state-federal regulatory system. The system evolved piecemeal, punctuated by major changes in response to various historical financial crises. The most recent financial crisis also resulted in changes to the regulatory system through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act; P.L. 111-203) and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA; P.L. 110-289). To address the fragmented nature of the system, the Dodd-Frank Act created...

U.S.-South Korea Relations

Overview

South Korea (officially the Republic of Korea or ROK) is one of the United States’ most important strategic and economic partners in Asia. Since the early 1950s, the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty commits the United States to help South Korea defend itself. Approximately 28,500 U.S. troops are based in the ROK, which is included under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.” Washington and Seoul cooperate in addressing the challenges posed by North Korea. The two countries’ economies are joined by the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). South Korea is the United States’...

NAFTA and Motor Vehicle Trade

Motor vehicles and vehicle parts accounted for more than 20% of the total value of U.S. merchandise trade with Canada and Mexico in 2016, making them the largest category of manufactured products traded among the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in January 1994, the vehicle supply chain has become fully integrated, with parts manufacturing and assembly in all three countries.

On May 18, 2017, the Trump Administration notified Congress of its intent to renegotiate NAFTA. In consequence, the 115th Congress will likely...

The Paris Club and International Debt Relief

The Paris Club is a voluntary, informal group of creditor nations who meet approximately 10 times per year to provide debt relief to developing countries. Members of the Paris Club agree to renegotiate and/or reduce official debt owed to them on a case-by-case basis.

The United States is a key Paris Club Member and Congress has an active role in both Paris Club operations and U.S. policy regarding debt relief overall. The Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990 stipulates that Congress must be involved in any official foreign country debt relief and notified of any debt reduction and debt renegotiation.

U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: Trends and Current Issues

The United States is the largest direct investor abroad and the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the world. For some Americans, the national gains attributed to investing overseas are offset by such perceived losses as offshoring facilities, displacing U.S. workers, and lowering wages. Some observers believe U.S. firms invest abroad to avoid U.S. labor unions or high U.S. wages, but 74% of the accumulated U.S. foreign direct investment is concentrated in high-income developed countries. In recent years, the share of investment going to developing countries has fallen. Most...

Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Economic Analysis

Foreign direct investment in the United States in 2015 increased by 83% over that recorded in 2014. (Note: The United States defines foreign direct investment as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person [individual, branch, partnership, association, government, etc.] of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise [15 CFR §806.15 (a)(1)].) In 2015, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $379 billion in U.S. businesses and...

India-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

India will soon be the world’s most populous country, home to about one of every six people. Many factors combine to infuse India’s government and people with “great power” aspirations: the Asian giant’s rich civilization and history, expanding strategic horizons, energetic global and international engagement, critical geography (with more than 9,000 total miles of land borders, many of them disputed) astride vital sea and energy lanes, major economy (at times the world’s fastest growing) with a rising middle class and an attendant boost in defense and power projection capabilities...

Argentina: Background and U.S. Relations

Argentina, a South American country with a population of almost 44 million, has had a vibrant democratic tradition since its military relinquished power in 1983. Current President Mauricio Macri—the leader of the center-right Republican Proposal and the candidate of the Let’s Change coalition representing center-right and center-left parties—won the 2015 presidential race. He succeeded two-term President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, from the center-left faction of the Peronist party known as the Front for Victory, who in turn had succeeded her husband, Néstor Kirchner, in 2007. Macri’s...

Effects of Buy America on Transportation Infrastructure and U.S. Manufacturing: Policy Options

With the aim of protecting American manufacturing and manufacturing jobs, Congress over the years has passed several domestic content laws. Statements and actions by the Trump Administration about reinvigorating domestic manufacturing and reinvesting in infrastructure have stimulated renewed interest in these laws, including Buy America. The President’s “Buy American and Hire American” initiative includes an executive memorandum requiring the Secretary of Commerce to develop a plan for new pipelines in the United States to be made from domestically produced iron and steel, and a separate...

Financial Regulatory Relief: Approaches for Congress, Regulators, and the Administration

The 2007-2009 financial crisis led to significant changes in financial regulation, but critics argue that the burden these changes have imposed now exceeds their benefits. Congress and the Administration are considering financial regulatory relief from various postcrisis regulatory changes, including the Dodd-Frank Act (P.L. 111-203). This report provides an overview of the options available to pursue that goal.

Approaches for Congress

Congress can mandate that regulators provide relief through legislation. Most relief legislation likely would follow the normal legislative process. For...

Israel and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

This report provides information and analysis on a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (“BDS”) movement against Israel. The BDS movement is generally seen as a loose grouping of actors from various countries who advocate or engage in economic measures against Israel or Israel-related individuals or organizations, though defining precisely what may or may not constitute BDS activity is subject to debate.

The report also analyzes economic measures that “differentiate” or might be seen as differentiating between (1) Israel in general and (2) entities linked with Israeli-developed areas and...

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force on January 1, 1994. The agreement was signed by President George H. W. Bush on December 17, 1992, and approved by Congress on November 20, 1993. The NAFTA Implementation Act was signed into law by President William J. Clinton on December 8, 1993 (P.L. 103-182). The overall economic impact of NAFTA is difficult to measure since trade and investment trends are influenced by numerous other economic variables, such as economic growth, inflation, and currency fluctuations. The agreement likely accelerated and also locked in...

Buying American: Protecting U.S. Manufacturing Through the Berry and Kissell Amendments

The Berry and Kissell Amendments are two separate but closely related laws requiring that certain goods purchased by national security agencies be produced in the United States.

The Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. §2533a) is the popular name for a law requiring textiles, clothing, food, and hand or measuring tools purchased by the Department of Defense (DOD) to be grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced wholly in the United States. Congress over the decades has varied the list of products covered by the law. Under the Kissell Amendment (6 U.S.C. §453b), textile, apparel, and footwear products...

The 2006 U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement (SLA): In Brief

Softwood lumber imports from Canada have been a persistent concern to Congress for decades. Canada is an important trading partner, but lumber production is a significant industry in many states, and the U.S. lumber producers are a powerful economic influence. U.S. lumber producers claim that they are at an unfair competitive disadvantage in the domestic market against Canadian lumber producers because of Canada’s timber pricing policies. This has resulted in five major disputes (so-called “lumber wars”) between the United States and Canada since the 1980s.

Tension between the United...

Mexico’s Free Trade Agreements

Mexico has had a growing commitment to trade integration and liberalization through the formation of free trade agreements (FTAs) since the 1990s, and its trade policy is among the most open in the world. Mexico’s pursuit of FTAs with other countries not only provides economic benefits, but could also potentially reduce its economic dependence on the United States. The United States is, by far, Mexico’s most significant trading partner. Approximately 80% of Mexico’s exports go to the United States, and about 47% of Mexico’s imports are supplied by the United States. In an effort to...

The Greek Debt Crisis: Overview and Implications for the United States

Crisis Overview

Since 2009, Greece has grappled with a serious debt crisis. Most economists believe that Greece’s public debt, 180% of Greek gross domestic product (GDP), is unsustainable. The ramifications of the debt have been felt throughout the Greek economy, which contracted by 25% from its pre-crisis level. A fifth of Greeks are unemployed, with youth unemployment at nearly 50%, and the Greek banking system is unstable. Although other Eurozone governments, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank coordinated a substantial crisis response, Greece continues...

Issues with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal motor vehicle safety regulation was established more than 50 years ago by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (P.L. 89-563) to address the rising number of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administers vehicle safety laws and has issued dozens of safety standards, including regulations affecting windshield wipers, hood and door latches, tires, and airbags.

NHTSA has estimated that between 1960 and 2012, federal motor vehicle safety standards saved more than 600,000 lives, and the risk of a fatality...

The Financial Action Task Force: An Overview

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, or the 9/11 Commission, recommended that tracking terrorist financing “must remain front and center in U.S. counterterrorism efforts” (see The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, U.S. Government Printing Office, July, 2004. p. 382). As part of these efforts, the United States plays a leading role in the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF). The independent, intergovernmental policymaking body was established by the 1989 G-7 Summit...

Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues, Challenges, and U.S. Responses

The 115th Congress and the Trump Administration are reviewing existing U.S. policies and programs in sub-Saharan Africa (henceforth, “Africa”) as they establish their budgetary and policy priorities toward the region while also responding to emerging crises. Africa-specific policy questions did not feature prominently in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, and the views of the Trump Administration on many U.S.-Africa policy issues remain unspecified. The Obama Administration’s Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa identified its policy priorities as strengthening democratic institutions;...

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

In October 2013, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bali, Indonesia, China proposed creating a new multilateral development bank (MDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As its name suggests, the Bank's stated purpose is to provide financing for infrastructure needs throughout Asia, as well as in neighboring regions. As of January 2017, the AIIB has approved nine projects, investing a total of $1.7 billion.

The AIIB commenced operations on January 16, 2016. Membership in the AIIB is open to all members of the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank (ADB)....

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), finalized in December 2013, is the newest international trade agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO), having entered into force on February 22, 2017, when two-thirds of WTO members, including the United States, ratified the multilateral agreement. Congress has an interest in the TFA since it may affect U.S. trade flows, the U.S. economy, and international capacity building efforts.

Trade facilitation measures aim to simplify and streamline international trade procedures to allow the easier flow of trade across borders and thereby reduce the...

U.S. Sanctions and Russia’s Economy

In response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean region of neighboring Ukraine and its support of separatist militants in Ukraine’s east, the United States imposed a number of targeted economic sanctions on Russian individuals, entities, and sectors. The United States coordinated its sanctions with other countries, particularly the European Union (EU). Russia retaliated against sanctions by banning imports of certain agricultural products from countries imposing sanctions, including the United States.

U.S. policymakers are debating the use of economic sanctions in U.S. foreign policy...

Financing the U.S. Trade Deficit

The U.S. merchandise trade deficit is a part of the overall U.S. balance of payments, a summary statement of all economic transactions between the residents of the United States and the rest of the world, during a given period of time. Some Members of Congress and other observers have grown concerned over the magnitude of the U.S. merchandise trade deficit and the associated increase in U.S. dollar-denominated assets owned by foreigners. International trade recovered from the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the subsequent slowdown in global economic activity that reduced global...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues and Actions in the 114th Congress

U.S. Interests and Policy

Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean region, based on diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration focused on four priorities: promoting economic and social opportunity; ensuring citizen security; strengthening effective democratic institutions; and securing a clean energy future. There was substantial continuity in U.S. policy toward the region during the first six years of the Obama...

Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Negotiations: Overview and Issues for Congress

Congress has broad interest in trade in services, which are a large and growing component of the U.S. economy. It also has a direct interest in establishing trade negotiating objectives and potential consideration of a future Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Services account for 78% of U.S. private sector gross domestic product (GDP), 82% of private sector employees in 2015, and an increasing portion of U.S. international trade. “Services” refer to a growing range of economic activities, such as audiovisual, construction, and computer and related services; energy; express delivery;...

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Background and Legislative Issues

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a wholly owned U.S. government corporation, is referred to as the U.S. development finance institution (DFI). It provides political risk insurance, project and investment funds financing, and other services to promote U.S. direct investment in developing countries and emerging economies that will have a development impact. It operates under the foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State. OPIC’s governing legislation is the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. §2191 et seq.).

Congress periodically has extended...

Commercial Space Industry Launches a New Phase

Rockets, satellites, and the services they provide, once the domain of governments, are increasingly launched and managed by privately owned companies. Although private aerospace firms have contracted with federal agencies since the onset of the Space Age six decades ago, U.S. government policy has sought to spur innovation and drive down costs by expanding the roles of satellite manufacturers and commercial launch providers.

Global spending on space activity reached an estimated $323 billion in 2015. Of this amount, nearly 40% was generated by commercial space products and services and...

Internet Gambling: Policy Issues for Congress

Gambling, once widely outlawed, is now a regulated, taxed activity that is legal in some form—bingo, card games, slot machines, state-run lotteries, casinos, and even online—in all states except Hawaii and Utah. Like so many other industries, the gambling industry is being transformed by technology that has begun to shift patronage from casinos, bingo halls, or stores selling lottery tickets to desktop computers and tablets connected to the Internet and to mobile devices that may communicate by telephone or direct satellite links. According to one private estimate, annual revenue in the...

The United States as a Net Debtor Nation: Overview of the International Investment Position

The international investment position of the United States is an annual measure of the assets Americans own abroad and the assets foreigners own in the United States. The net position, or the difference between the two, sometimes is referred to as a measure of U.S. international indebtedness. This designation is not strictly correct, because the net international investment position reveals the difference between the total assets Americans own abroad and the total amount of assets foreigners own in the United States. These assets generate flows of capital into and out of the economy that...

U.S. Textile Manufacturing and the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Textiles are a sensitive sector in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an agreement that would establish a free-trade zone across the Pacific if it is approved by Congress and foreign governments. Because the TPP includes Vietnam, a major apparel producer that now mainly sources yarns and fabrics from China and other Asian nations, the agreement could shift global trading patterns for textiles and demand for U.S. textile exports. Canada and Mexico, both significant regional textile markets for the United States, and Japan, a major manufacturer of high-end textiles and industrial fabrics,...

Volkswagen, Defeat Devices, and the Clean Air Act: Frequently Asked Questions

The German automotive manufacturer Volkswagen Automotive Group (VW) has admitted to installing a software algorithm in several of its diesel-fueled vehicle engines that acts as a “defeat device”: the software detects when the vehicle is undergoing compliance testing and activates certain pollution control devices to reduce tailpipe emissions. During normal driving situations, however, the control devices are turned off, resulting in higher emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other air pollutants than claimed by the company. Federal and California regulators and the European Union (EU)...

Implementing Bills for Trade Agreements: Statutory Procedures under Trade Promotion Authority

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (BCTPAA, title II of P.L. 114-26) renewed the “trade promotion authority” (TPA) under which implementing bills for trade agreements that address non-tariff barriers to trade (and certain levels of tariff reduction) are eligible for expedited (or “fast track”) consideration by Congress under the “trade authorities procedures” established by the Trade Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-618). These expedited procedures provide for automatic introduction of the implementing bill submitted by the President, attempt to ensure that...

Energy Legislation: Comparison of Selected Provisions in S. 2012 as Passed by the House and Senate

Congress most recently enacted major energy legislation in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140). The 114th Congress is currently considering new legislation to address broad energy issues. On April 20, 2016, the Senate passed an amended version of S. 2012, the Energy Policy and Modernization Act. On December 3, 2015, the House passed an amended version of H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015. On May 25, 2016, the House passed an amended version of S. 2012 which contains the text of H.R. 8, as well as the text of several other...

Economic Implications of a United Kingdom Exit from the European Union

This report provides an analysis of the possible economic implications for the United States and the global economy of an exit from the European Union (EU) by the United Kingdom (UK), commonly referred to as Brexit. It offers background information on possible implications of the vote to leave the EU, an overview of U.S.-UK trade and investment relations, and various estimates of Brexit’s financial implications for the U.S. and global economies. For Members of Congress, economic fallout from Brexit could increase the risks of a slower rate of economic growth and potentially complicate...

The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA; H.R. 5278, S. 2328)

Representative Duffy introduced H.R. 5278, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), on May 18, 2016. This bill is a revised version of H.R. 4900, introduced by Representative Duffy on April 12, 2016. The House Committee on Natural Resources marked up H.R. 5278 on May 25, 2016. Amendments include technical corrections and extensions of certain studies on the Puerto Rico government and economy. The major provisions of the bill were unaffected. The House passed an amended version of H.R. 5278, which is organized into seven titles, on June 9, 2016,...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Analysis of Economic Studies

Congress plays a major role in formulating and implementing U.S. trade policy through its legislative and oversight responsibilities. Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the authority to regulate foreign commerce, while the President has the authority to conduct foreign relations. In 2015, Congress reauthorized Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that( 1) sets trade policy objectives for the President to negotiate in trade agreements; (2) requires the President to engage with and keep Congress informed of negotiations; and (3) provides for Congressional consideration of legislation to...

U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Policy

Invented and pioneered in the United States shortly after World War II, semiconductors are the enabling technology of the information age. Because of semiconductors new industries have emerged and existing ones, such as aerospace and automotive, have been transformed. Semiconductors have contributed in powerful and unique ways to nearly all fields of science and engineering, and semiconductors’ economic and military importance has made the industry’s health a focus of congressional interest for nearly 70 years. In July 2015, Congress formed the Semiconductor Caucus, a group that seeks to...

Trade-Based Money Laundering: Overview and Policy Issues

Trade-based money laundering (TBML) involves the exploitation of the international trade system for the purpose of transferring value and obscuring the true origins of illicit wealth. TBML schemes vary in complexity but typically involve misrepresentation of the price, quantity, or quality of imports or exports. Financial institutions may wittingly or unwittingly be implicated in TBML schemes when such institutions are used to settle, facilitate, or finance international trade transactions (e.g., through the processing of wire transfers, provision of trade finance, and issuance of letters...

Peru: Politics, Economy, and Elections

This report provides an overview of Peru’s political, economic, and security conditions and of U.S.-Peruvian relations.

As President Ollanta Humala is nearing the end of his five-year term, Peru held national elections for the presidency and the 130-seat unicameral legislature on April 10, 2016. Because none of the presidential candidates won an absolute majority, a runoff was held June 5 between two center-right candidates. Economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski defeated former congresswoman Keiko Fujimori by less than 1% of the vote, 50.12% to 49.88%.

For months, Fujimori had maintained a...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Key Provisions and Issues for Congress

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, with both economic and strategic significance for the United States. The proposed agreement is perhaps the most ambitious FTA undertaken by the United States in terms of its size, the breadth and depth of its commitments, its potential evolution, and its geo-political significance. Signed on February 4, 2016, after several years of negotiations, if implemented, TPP would be the largest FTA in which the United States participates, and would eliminate trade barriers and establish new...

U.S.-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 114th Congress

The year 2015 was a memorable year in U.S.-Vietnam relations, marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, the 20th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, the first U.S. visit by a Chairman of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) (in July), and the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations (in October). This year also will be marked with historical events, including the 15th anniversary of the United States granting Vietnam permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), the February signing of the TPP, and President Obama’s first...

U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield

Both the United States and the European Union (EU) maintain that they are committed to upholding individual privacy rights and ensuring the protection of personal data. Nevertheless, data privacy and protection issues have long been sticking points in U.S.-EU economic and security relations, in part because of differences in U.S. and EU data privacy approaches and legal regimes. In the late 1990s, the United States and the EU negotiated the Safe Harbor Agreement of 2000 to allow U.S. companies and organizations to meet EU data protection requirements and permit the legal transfer of...

Remittances: Background and Issues for Congress

This report focuses on remittances, transfers of money and capital sent by migrants and foreign immigrant communities to their home country. At over $432 billion in 2015, remittances sent home by international migrants to developing countries are larger than official development assistance (ODA) and more stable than private capital flows to these countries.

The United States is the largest destination for international migrants and by far the largest source of global remittances. The World Bank estimates $56.3 billion in official remittance outflows from the United States in 2014. As the...

Miscellaneous Tariff Bills: Overview and Issues for Congress

U.S. importers often request that Members of Congress introduce bills seeking to temporarily suspend or reduce tariffs on certain imports. The rationale for these requests is that they cut costs for U.S manufacturers, thus enabling them to hire more workers, invest in research and development, and reduce costs for consumers.

In recent congressional practice, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, the committees of jurisdiction over tariffs, have combined individual duty suspension bills and other technical trade provisions into larger pieces of legislation known as...

Export-Import Bank: Frequently Asked Questions

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank or the Bank), a wholly owned federal government corporation, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the U.S. government. Its mission is to assist in financing and facilitating U.S. exports of goods and services to support U.S. employment. Ex-Im Bank operates under a renewable general statutory charter (Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, as amended). In the 114th Congress, Ex-Im Bank’s charter was extended through September 30, 2019, by the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Division E of P.L. 114-94, a...

The Pacific Alliance: A Trade Integration Initiative in Latin America

The Pacific Alliance is a regional integration initiative formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru on April 28, 2011. Its main purpose is for members to form a regional trading bloc and forge stronger economic ties with the Asia-Pacific region. Costa Rica and Panama are candidates to become full members once they meet certain requirements. The United States joined the Alliance as an observer on July 18, 2013. The United States has free trade agreements with all four countries and has significant trade and foreign policy ties with the region. The Pacific Alliance is of interest to...

U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions

Congress plays a major role in U.S. trade policy through its legislative and oversight authority. There are a number of major trade issues that are currently the focus of Congress. For example, bills were introduced in the 113th Congress to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and legislative action on these issues could be forthcoming in the 114th Congress. Additionally, Congress has been involved with proposed free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involving the...

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's State Visit, March 2016

This report briefly discusses Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's scheduled visit to the United States on March,10 2016. It will be the first state visit by a Canadian leader since 1997, when then-President Clinton hosted then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

The Internet of Things: CRS Experts

“Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to networks of objects that communicate with other objects and with computers through the Internet. “Things” may include virtually any object for which remote communication, data collection, or control might be useful, such as meters, vehicles, appliances, medical devices, electric grids, transportation infrastructure, manufacturing equipment, or building systems. Although the full extent and nature of the IoT’s impacts remain uncertain, economic analyses predict that it will contribute trillions of dollars to economic growth over the next decade. Sectors...

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 114th Congress, 2nd Session

The U.S. Constitution grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Congress exercises this authority in numerous ways, including through oversight of trade policy and consideration of legislation to approve trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover such areas as U.S. trade negotiations, U.S. trade and economic relations with specific regions and countries, international institutions focused on trade, tariff and nontariff barriers, worker dislocation due to trade liberalization, trade remedy laws, import and export policies, international...

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) Negotiations

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) is a potential reciprocal free trade agreement (FTA) that the United States and the European Union (EU) are negotiating with each other. Formal negotiations commenced in July 2013. Both sides initially aimed to conclude the negotiations in two years, but more recently have updated their timeline and aim to conclude the T-TIP by the end of 2016. Twelve rounds of T-TIP negotiations have occurred to date.

The United States and EU seek to enhance market access and trade disciplines by addressing remaining transatlantic barriers to...

Daily Fantasy Sports: Industry Trends, Legal and Regulatory Issues, and Policy Options

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) companies, which operate online gaming platforms that allow players to assemble imaginary sports teams and compete in daily or weekly contests, function in a gray area of the law. The federal government does not license or regulate them. State governments have the main responsibility for regulating gaming activities that offer the prospect of monetary rewards, but a series of federal laws, most recently the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA; P.L. 109-347), may limit states’ ability to oversee DFS. The 2006 law, however, was enacted at a...

Overview of Labor Enforcement Issues in Free Trade Agreements

Since 1993, the Administration has negotiated and Congress has approved 13 free trade agreements (FTAs) with labor provisions, and is considering additional FTAs. Based on similarity of language, these FTAs can be sorted into four groups, or “models,” which have evolved to contain successively greater levels of enforceability. This report first identifies the enforceable labor provisions in each model. Second, it identifies two types of labor enforcement issues: (1) those that relate to the FTA provisions themselves, including their definitions and their enforceability, and (2) those that...

Surface Transportation Funding and Programs Under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94)

On December 4, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94). The act authorized spending on federal highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research activities, and rail programs for five years, through September 30, 2020. The act’s authorization totaled roughly $305 billion for FY2016 through FY2020. This included $233 billion for highways and highway safety, $61 billion for public transportation, and more than $10 billion for Amtrak.

Most of the funding for surface transportation bills...

Cybersecurity: CRS Experts

Concerns about information-system security and other aspects of cybersecurity are long-standing. The frequency, impact, and sophistication of cyberattacks and the growth of cybercrime and cyberespionage have added urgency to the concerns. Consensus has been growing that the policy framework for cybersecurity take into account the diversity and continuing evolution of the technology and threats—from spam to botnets to hacktivism, cyberterrorism, and cyberwar—and the increasing role of the Internet in the U.S. economy and the lives of citizens. Among the issues the 114th Congress is expected...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): In Brief

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, with both economic and strategic significance for the United States. If approved, it would be the largest FTA in which the United States participates. The 12 countries announced the conclusion of the TPP negotiations and released the text of the agreement in late 2015, after several years of ongoing talks. Trade ministers from the TPP countries signed the final agreement on February 4, 2016, but Congress would need to pass implementing legislation for the agreement to enter into...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Strategic Implications

On February 4, 2016, Ministers of the 12 countries participating in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations signed the proposed free trade agreement (FTA). TPP is one of the Obama Administration’s signature trade policy initiatives, an effort to reduce and eliminate trade and investment barriers and establish new rules and disciplines to govern trade and investment among the 12 countries. TPP proponents, including Administration officials, argue that the proposed TPP would have substantial strategic benefits for the United States in addition to its direct economic impact. They...

Taiwan's January 2016 Elections: A Preview

This report briefly provides context for the January 16, 2016 presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan. The elections may determine whether an eight-year period of relative calm in relations between Taiwan (whose formal name is the Republic of China or ROC) and the People's Republic of China (PRC) continues, or comes to an end.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations (CJS): Trade-Related Agencies

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2016 appropriations for the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). These three trade-related agencies are part of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations process. The report also provides an overview of three trade-related programs that are administered by ITA, USITC, and USTR.

The Consolidated and Further...

The WTO Nairobi Ministerial

This report briefly discusses a limited set of deliverables agreed upon by trade ministers and their senior representatives in Nairobi at the 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Oil, Natural Gas, and Coal: CRS Experts

Fossil fuels play a dominant role in U.S. energy. The United States is a major producer and consumer of oil (and petroleum products), natural gas, and coal. U.S. fossil fuel reserves, production, processing and refining, distribution, markets, and use are of perennial interest among policymakers and the public. Ongoing concerns include retail gasoline prices, oil and other commodity markets, potential for expanded domestic supply, environmental effects of continued fossil combustion, and the benefits and drawbacks of trade in these commodities. The following tables provide access to names...

Multilateral Development Banks: How the United States Makes and Implements Policy

This report analyzes how the United States makes policy towards the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and identifies ways by which Congress can shape U.S. policy and influence the activities of the banks themselves.

The executive branch and Congress share responsibility for U.S. policy towards the MDBs and each has primary control over a different part of the policy process. The Administration is responsible for negotiating with other countries and for managing day-to-day U.S. participation in the MDBs. Congress has ultimate authority over the level of U.S. financial commitments and...

Emerging Markets: Is Slower Growth Temporary?

This report discusses the growing vulnerabilities Emerging market (EM) countries are facing due to declining global trade, depreciating currencies, sharply lower commodity prices, volatile equity markets, and deeper economic reforms.

Mexico's Oil and Gas Sector: Background, Reform Efforts, and Implications for the United States

The future of oil and natural gas production in Mexico is of importance for both Mexico’s economic growth, as well as for U.S. energy security, a key congressional interest. Mexico is a top trade partner and the third-largest crude oil supplier to the United States. Mexico’s state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) remains an important source of government revenue even as it is struggling to counter declining oil production and reserves. Due to an inability to meet rising demand, Mexico has also significantly increased natural gas imports from the United States. Still, gas shortages...

Canada's October 2015 Elections

This report discusses the political climate in Canada, leading up to Canada's next election, scheduled for October 19, 2015. The outcome of the election may have implications for the United States, which is Canada's largest trading partner, largest energy consumer, and NATO ally.

Surface Transportation Program Reauthorization Issues for Congress

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141), a two-year authorization of federal spending on highway and public transportation programs, surface transportation safety and research, and some rail programs, was set to expire September 30, 2014. MAP-21 has been extended three times since then, most recently through October 29, 2015, by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41). That legislation also transferred $8.07 billion from the Treasury general fund to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).

Nearly all the...

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Commercial Outlook for a New Industry

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—commonly referred to as drones—have become a staple of U.S. military reconnaissance and weapons delivery in overseas war zones such as Afghanistan. Now some new technologies and pending federal regulations are enabling the manufacture and use of UAS in domestic commerce, giving rise to a growing commercial UAS industry.

Flying small, unmanned aircraft has been a hobbyists’ pastime for decades. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently prohibits the use of UAS for commercial purposes, except where it has granted an exemption permitting...

Intellectual Property Rights and International Trade

This report provides background on intellectual property rights (IPR) and discusses the role of U.S. international trade policy in enhancing IPR protection and enforcement abroad. IPR are legal rights granted by governments to encourage innovation and creative output by ensuring that creators reap the benefits of their inventions or works. They may take forms such as patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, or geographical indications. Congress has constitutional responsibility for legislating and overseeing IPR and international trade policy. Responsibility for developing IPR...

Is Global Growth Slowing?

This report discusses concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, particularly in China and other emerging markets. Some projections indicate that global economic growth in 2016 could be slightly weaker for emerging markets, primarily Latin America, and developed economies, except the United States and the United Kingdom.

The International Labor Organization (ILO): Background in Brief

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R44165 Summary This report is intended as a primer on the International Labor Organization (ILO). The ILO was founded in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, and became the first independent agency of the United Nations in 1946. It is a tripartite organization composed of member governments, labor, and employer representatives. The United States helped found the ILO and contributes more to the ILO regular budget (22%) than any other country. The ILO and its activities are of ongoing interest to Congress, particularly...

China's Currency Devaluation

This report discusses China's recent changes to its method for determining the value of its currency (the renminbi). On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank, surprised global financial markets by lowering the reference rate of the renminbi, effectively depreciating the currency.

Foreign Investment in U.S. Securities

Expansion of WTO Information Technology Agreement Targets December Conclusion

This report discusses the World Trade Organization (WTO) expansion and agreement to expand the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and eliminate tariffs on 201 goods not included in the original 1996 ITA.

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Countries: Comparative Trade and Economic Analysis

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The negotiating parties describe the TPP as a proposed “living agreement,” which seeks to cover new trade topics and to include new members that are willing to adopt its high standards. The ongoing negotiations, which TPP country trade ministers have repeatedly announced are in the final stages, may progress more quickly with the recent congressional grant of Trade...

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy

Legislation to reauthorize Trade Promotion Authority (“TPA”), sometimes called “fast track,” was signed by President Obama on June 29, 2015 (P.L. 114-26). It was introduced as the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015; H.R. 1890/S. 995) on April 16, 2015. The legislation was reported by the Senate Finance Committee on April 22, 2015, and by the House Ways and Means Committee the next day. TPA, as incorporated into H.R. 1314 by substitute amendment, passed the Senate on May 22 by a vote of 62-37. In the House of Representatives, the measure was...

Ex-Im Bank's General Statutory Authority Expires

This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), a wholly owned federal government corporation which seeks to provide direct loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance to: (1) support exports that the private sector is unwilling or unable to finance alone at commercially viable terms; and/or (2) counter government-backed financing offered by foreign countries through their export credit agency (ECA).

Economic Crisis in Greece

This report briefly discusses the current economic situation in Greece. Questions about whether Greece will stay in the Eurozone have resurfaced, as the government's stalemate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Eurozone creditors has reached a critical point.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Trade Facilitation, Enforcement, and Security

International trade is a critical component of the U.S. economy, with U.S. merchandise imports amounting to $2.4 trillion and exports to $1.6 trillion in 2014. The efficient flow of legally traded goods in and out of the United States is thus a vital element of the country’s economic security.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the primary agency charged with monitoring, regulating, and facilitating the flow of goods through U.S. ports of entry (POEs). CBP’s policies are designed to (1) ensure the smooth flow of imported cargo...

International Investment Agreements (IIAs): Frequently Asked Questions

In recent decades, the United States has entered into binding investment agreements with foreign countries to facilitate investment flows, reduce restrictions on foreign investment and expand market access, and enhance investor protections, while balancing other policy interests. Some World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements address investment issues in a limited manner. In the absence of a comprehensive multilateral agreement, bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and investment chapters in free trade agreements (FTAs), known as international investment agreements (IIAs), have been the...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations and Issues for Congress

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed regional free trade agreement (FTA) being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. U.S. negotiators and others describe and envision the TPP as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that aims to liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include rules-based commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO). The broad outline of an agreement was announced on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific...

Balancing Tourism against Terrorism: The Visa Waiver Program

This report briefly discusses Congress's concern that some foreign fighters might exploit the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to enter the United States and commit acts of terrorism. The VWP allows eligible visitors from 38 European nations and a few prosperous Asia-Pacific countries to enter the United States for short business or leisure stays without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. consulate abroad.

The European Capital Markets Union

This report briefly discusses the implications of the European Commission's recently drafted proposal for a Capital Markets Union (CMU) to complement its current efforts to create a Banking Union. The CMU is intended to strengthen capital markets in the 28-member European Union (EU) in order to provide a viable alternative to the current bank-centered funding model commonly used by European firms.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2015 Appropriations

This report tracks and describes actions taken by the Administration and Congress to provide FY2015 appropriations for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts. It also provides an overview of FY2014 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The annual CJS appropriations act provides funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the science agencies, and several related agencies. Appropriations for the Department of Commerce include funding for agencies such as the Census Bureau; the U.S. Patent and...

The Swiss National Bank's Recent Currency Actions

This report presents the foreign exchange value of the Swiss franc relative to the euro and dollar.

The Target and Other Financial Data Breaches: Frequently Asked Questions

In November and December of 2013, cybercriminals breached the data security of Target, one of the largest U.S. retail chains, stealing the personal and financial information of millions of customers. On December 19, 2013, Target confirmed that some 40 million credit and debit card account numbers had been stolen. On January 10, 2014, Target announced that personal information, including the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of up to 70 million customers, was also stolen during the data breach. A report by the Senate Committee on Commerce in March 2014 concluded that...

The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program: Status and Issues

The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program is a Department of Energy (DOE) program designed to reduce petroleum use in vehicles and promote domestic manufacturing. It was established in 2007, when the Detroit 3 automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler—faced declining sales in a weakening economy at the same time that U.S. fuel economy standards were raised. It provides direct loans to automakers and parts suppliers to construct new U.S. factories or retrofit existing factories to produce vehicles that achieve at least 25% higher fuel economy than model year...

U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues

This CRS Report, updated through the 113th Congress, provides an overview with analysis of the major issues in U.S. policy on Taiwan. Taiwan formally calls itself the Republic of China (ROC), tracing its political lineage to the ROC set up after the revolution in 1911 in China. The ROC government retreated to Taipei in 1949. The United States recognized the ROC until the end of 1978 and has maintained a non-diplomatic relationship with Taiwan after recognition of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1979. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) of 1979, P.L. 96-8, has governed policy in...

China and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Missiles: Policy Issues

Congress has long been concerned about whether policy advances the U.S. interest in reducing the role of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles that could deliver them. Recipients of PRC technology included Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran. This CRS Report, updated through the 113th Congress, discusses the security problem of China’s role in weapons proliferation and issues related to the U.S. policy response since the mid-1990s. China has taken some steps to mollify U.S. and other foreign concerns about its role in...

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 113th Congress

Geographic proximity has ensured strong linkages between the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean region, with diverse U.S. interests, including economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy toward the region under the Obama Administration has focused on four priorities: promoting economic and social opportunity; ensuring citizen security; strengthening effective democratic institutions; and securing a clean energy future. There was substantial continuity in U.S. policy toward the region during the first six years of the Obama Administration, which pursued some of...

Economic Crisis in Russia

This report briefly examines the economic climate in Russia, providing background information and examining key trends. The report also briefly discusses possible next steps for the Kremlin and potential spillover effects for the United States.

Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Overview of Major Issues, Current Laws, and Proposed Legislation

For more than a decade, various experts have expressed increasing concerns about cybersecurity, in light of the growing frequency, impact, and sophistication of attacks on information systems in the United States and abroad. Consensus has also been building that the current legislative framework for cybersecurity might need to be revised.

The complex federal role in cybersecurity involves both securing federal systems and assisting in protecting nonfederal systems. Under current law, all federal agencies have cybersecurity responsibilities relating to their own systems, and many have...

President Obama's November 2014 Visit to China: The Bilateral Agreements

This report discusses President Obama's visit to China, in November-10-12. The purpose of the visit was focused on increasing cooperation on global and regional challenges such as climate change, global economic governance, non-proliferation, and pandemic diseases like Ebola; improving the military-to-military relationship; and expanding business and people-to-people ties.

The G-20 Summit: Brisbane, November 15-16, 2014

This report discusses the G-20 Summit held in Brisbane, Australia. In February 2014, the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors pledged to develop policies that would boost the G-20's collective GDP by more than two percentage points over the coming five years.

India-U.S. Economic Relations: In Brief

Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R43741 Summary As the world’s 3rd largest economy, India is an important trade and economic partner for the United States. The upcoming September 29-30 visit by recently elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his first to Washington, DC, has heightened congressional interest in the current status of the relationship. Modi’s visit provides the Obama Administration with an opportunity to advance the U.S.-India strategic partnership, including by discussing ways to foster greater trade and investment between the two nations. May 2014...

The U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implementation

President Obama signed the legislation implementing the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) on October 21, 2011 (P.L. 112-41), and the Korean National Assembly passed the agreement on November 22, 2011. The KORUS FTA entered into force on March 15, 2012.

With the KORUS FTA now in force for over two years, focus has shifted from the debate over its passage to its implementation, economic impact, and effect on future U.S. FTAs. Some U.S. companies have argued that certain aspects of the KORUS agreement are not being implemented appropriately, citing issues related to rules of...

Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP): Implementation and Status

The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was created by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA; P.L. 110-343) in October 2008. EESA was enacted to address an ongoing financial crisis that reached near-panic proportions in September 2008. The act granted the Secretary of the Treasury authority to either purchase or insure up to $700 billion in troubled assets owned by financial institutions. This authority was granted for up to two years from the date of enactment and was very broad. In particular, the definitions of both “troubled asset” and “financial institution” allowed the...

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Debate

This report discusses the ongoing debate regarding the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a federal government corporation which is the the official export credit agency (ECA) of the U.S. Government. The bank's statutory charter expires on September 30, 2014, meaning that its authority to obligations generally would cease and a wind-down of operations would be required. The report gives four possible scenarios for approaches Congress could take in regards to approaching the bank's future authorization status.

Border Security: CRS Experts

The following table lists the names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns related to border security. Policy areas identified include the following: Mission: scope, magnitude, relationship to departmental mission, functions and their interrelationships. Border surveillance: airports and air space; detection of nuclear and radiological materials; land borders; seaports and waterways. Immigration and foreign visitors: immigration; border “look out” systems; illegal entry; visa issuance and alien tracking. Transnational issues: border violence; foreign cooperation with...

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Frequently Asked Questions and Background

This report provides information about the early August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, and policy issues likely to be addressed by participants in the summit and other events being held in conjunction with it. In providing background on key U.S.-Africa policy issues, the report addresses: Africa’s development and economic challenges; U.S.-Africa trade, investment, and economic cooperation; U.S. aid to Africa; Governance, democracy, and human rights issues; and Peace and security issues, including selected U.S. responses. The summit is organized around the theme...

Proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP): In Brief

This report provides a brief overview of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), and discusses the congressional interest, market access, regulatory issues, and trade-related rules.

South Africa: Politics, Economy, and U.S. Relations

South Africa is a multi-racial, majority black southern African country of nearly 52 million. It held its first universal suffrage elections in 1994, after a transition from white minority rule under apartheid, a system of state-enforced racial segregation and socioeconomic discrimination. South Africa entered a period of mourning in late 2013, upon the death of its first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela. He is viewed as the founding father of the countrys nonracial democratic system, the 20th anniversary of which was recently celebrated prior to national elections on May 7. South...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2014 Appropriations

On March 26, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6). The act provides a total of $60.638 billion for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). After rescissions and sequestration, the act provided a total of $57.936 billion for CJS, of which $7.510 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $25.830 billion was for the Department of Justice, $23.769 billion was for the science agencies, and $827.9 million was for the related agencies.

On April 10, 2013, President Obama submitted his FY2014 budget to...

Policy Issues in the General Motors Vehicle Recall

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, Department of Transportation, DOT, General Motors, GM, motor vehicle air bags, ignition switch, vehicle recalls, product liability, bankruptcy, chapter 11, highway safety, TREAD Act.

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Russia made uneven progress in democratization during the 1990s, but this limited progress was reversed after Vladimir Putin rose to power in 1999-2000, according to many observers. During this period, the State Duma (lower legislative chamber) became dominated by government-approved parties, gubernatorial elections were abolished, and the government consolidated ownership or control over major media and industries, including the energy sector. The Putin government showed low regard for the rule of law and human rights in suppressing insurgency in the North Caucasus, according to critics....

CRS Issue Statement on Europe: Regional Policy, Bilateral Relations, and Key Issues

This report provides a statement on the United States' relationship with Europe.

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 113th Congress, Second Session

The U.S. Constitution grants authority over the regulation of foreign commerce to Congress, which it exercises through oversight of trade policy, including the consideration of legislation to approve trade agreements and authorize trade programs. Policy issues cover such areas as: U.S. trade negotiations; tariff and nontariff barriers; worker dislocation from trade liberalization, trade remedy laws; import and export policies; international investment, economic sanctions; and trade policy functions of the federal government. Congress also has an important role in international finance. It...

Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress

Some Members of Congress have expressed concern over U.S. acquisition of rare earth materials composed of rare earth elements (REE) used in various components of defense weapon systems. Rare earth elements consist of 17 elements on the periodic table, including 15 elements beginning with atomic number 57 (lanthanum) and extending through number 71 (lutetium), as well as two other elements having similar properties (yttrium and scandium). These are referred to as “rare” because although relatively abundant in total quantity, they appear in low concentrations in the earth’s crust and...

U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones: Background and Issues for Congress

U.S. foreign-trade zones (FTZs) are geographic areas declared to be outside the normal customs territory of the United States. This means that, for foreign merchandise entering FTZs and re-exported as different products, customs procedures are streamlined and tariffs do not apply. For products intended for U.S. consumption, full customs procedures are applied and duties are payable when they exit the FTZ.

In 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, Congress passed the U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Act. It was designed to expedite and encourage international trade while promoting domestic...

The Shift to Digital Advertising: Industry Trends and Policy Issues for Congress

The United States is the world’s largest advertising market. According to one estimate, domestic advertising revenue totaled $219 billion in 2012, accounting for about 1% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Almost every major medium of information, including the press, entertainment, and online services, depends on advertising revenue. Advertising accounts for 60%-80% of total revenue at many newspapers and magazines and for most revenue at search engines and social networking sites.

Television still remains the main choice for advertisers, with ad revenue at almost $76 billion in 2012....

Trade Reorganization: Overview and Issues for Congress

On January 13, 2012, President Obama asked Congress for authority to reorganize and consolidate, into one department, the business- and trade-related functions of six federal entities: Department of Commerce; Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank); Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC); Small Business Administration (SBA); Trade and Development Agency (TDA); and Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Bills based on the proposal were introduced in the 112th Congress. The President reiterated the proposal in his FY2014 budget request, and he may resubmit his request for...

Compounded Drugs

Compounding has been traditionally defined as a process where a pharmacist or a physician combines, mixes, or alters ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Traditionally compounded drugs (CDs) are made in response to an individual prescription from a licensed health provider in the context of a pharmacist’s and health care professional’s relationship with a specific patient.

Some have suggested that certain activities not traditionally associated with compounding be considered compounding. Such activities include the large-scale production of...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2013 Appropriations

On February 13, 2012, President Obama submitted his FY2013 budget to Congress. The Administration requests a total of $62.076 billion for the agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. The Administration’s request includes $7.978 billion for the Department of Commerce, $28.079 billion for the Department of Justice, $25.090 billion for the science agencies, and $929.2 million for the related agencies. The FY2013 request for CJS is 1.9% greater than the FY2012 appropriation of $60.910 billion.

On April 19,...

The World Bank Group Energy Sector Strategy

One in five people worldwide lack access to electricity. This is among the many challenges that financial institutions face when providing assistance to lower-income countries in order to promote economic and social development. Access to modern energy sources has the potential to substantially increase worldwide economic growth, creating markets in the developing world for products from the developed world, and vice versa. Filling this need may also result in environmental problems that could threaten development, including an increase in pollution that damages fisheries, reduces farm...

International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 113th Congress

This report discusses a variety of issues faced by the 113th Congress. Topics include trade negotiations with China, export controls and sanctions, import policies, intellectual property rights, international investments and international financial institutions.

Trade Agreements: Impact on the U.S. Economy

The United States is considering a number of trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP) and the U.S.-European Union Trade and Investment Partnership. The Congress also may address the issue of trade promotion authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. In contrast with trade agreements with smaller economies, these two recently proposed agreements could have a significant impact on some aspects of U.S. trade and investment activities that could affect numerous U.S. workers and businesses. During this process, Congress likely will be presented with...

Financial Market Supervision: Canada's Perspective

This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework.

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of "persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States" that threaten to impair the national security.

The Eurozone Crisis: Overview and Issues for Congress

Crisis Overview

What started as a debt crisis in Greece in late 2009 evolved into a broader economic and political crisis in the Eurozone and European Union (EU). The Eurozone faces four major, and related, economic challenges: (1) high debt levels and public deficits in some Eurozone countries; (2) weaknesses in the European banking system; (3) economic recession and high unemployment in some Eurozone countries; and (4) persistent trade imbalances within the Eurozone.

The economic crisis also turned into a political crisis. A combination of deep cuts in public spending, rising...

U.S. Trade and Investment in the Middle East and North Africa: Overview and Issues for Congress

U.S. interest in deepening economic ties with certain countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has increased in light of the political unrest and transitions that have swept the region since early 2011. Policymakers in Congress and the Obama Administration are discussing ways that U.S. trade and investment can bolster long-term economic growth in the region. In May 2011, President Obama announced the MENA “Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative” (MENA-TIP), through which various federal government agencies are engaged in efforts to enhance trade and investment with the...

U.S. Government Agencies Involved in Export Promotion: Overview and Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of the federal government agencies that participate in U.S. export promotion efforts and the issues that they raise for Congress. The recent global economic downturn has renewed congressional debate over the role of the federal government in promoting exports. This debate has been heightened with the Obama Administration’s efforts to double U.S. exports under the National Export Initiative (NEI) and policy debates about possible reorganization of federal trade-related agencies. Some Members of Congress have placed greater priority on understanding the...

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Manufacturing Trends

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) represent a bright spot for the technology-intensive aerospace manufacturing sector, but military and civil government agencies will likely be the predominant customers for an extended period while such systems are integrated into the U.S. National Airspace System ("national airspace"). This report discusses the market for UAS in 2013 and briefly discusses UAS manufacturers.

U.S. Wind Turbine Manufacturing: Federal Support for an Emerging Industry

Increasing U.S. energy supply diversity has been the goal of many Presidents and Congresses. This commitment has been prompted by concerns about national security, the environment, and the U.S. balance of payments. Investments in new energy sources also have been seen as a way to expand domestic manufacturing. For all of these reasons, the federal government has a variety of policies to promote wind power.

Expanding the use of wind energy requires installation of wind turbines. These are complex machines composed of some 8,000 components, created from basic industrial materials such as...

Trade Preferences: Economic Issues and Policy Options

Since 1974, Congress has created multiple trade preference programs designed to foster economic growth, reform, and development in less developed countries. These programs give temporary, non-reciprocal, duty-free U.S. market access to select exports of eligible countries. Congress has repeatedly revised and extended these programs. The112th Congress passed extensions to three trade preference programs: (1) the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) which expired on December 31, 2010 and was renewed retroactively from that date to July 31, 2013 (P.L. 112-40); (2) the Andean Trade...

Potential Trade Effects of Adding Vietnam to the Generalized System of Preferences Program

Report that looks at the effects of adding Vietnam to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) as a "developing country."

Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank, EXIM Bank, or the Bank), an independent federal government agency, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the United States. It helps finance U.S. exports of manufactured goods and services, with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers, primarily in circumstances when alternative financing is not available. Members of the 112th Congress may examine issues related to the

Ex-Im Bank that center on the economic rationale for the Bank; the impact of the Bank on the federal budget and U.S. taxpayers; the...

Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches

Today’s global economy, or what many call globalization, has a growing impact on the economic futures of American companies, workers, and families. Increasing integration with the world economy makes the U.S. and other economies more productive. For most Americans, this has translated into absolute increases in living standards and real disposable incomes. However, while the U.S. economy as a whole benefits from globalization, it is not always a win-win situation for all Americans. Rising trade with low-wage developing countries not only increases concerns of job loss, but it also leads...

The Future of the Eurozone and U.S. Interests

Seventeen of the European Union's 27 member states share an economic and monetary union (EMU) with the euro as a single currency. These countries are effectively referred to as the Eurozone. What has become known as the Eurozone crisis began in early 2010 when financial markets were shaken by heightened concerns that the fiscal positions of a number of Eurozone countries, beginning with Greece, were unsustainable. This report provides background information and analysis on the future of the Eurozone in six parts, including discussions on the origins and design challenges of the Eurozone,...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2012 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2012 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) accounts.

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (P.L. 112-55), which includes the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (Division B). The act includes $60.91 billion for CJS, of which $7.808 billion is for the Department of Commerce, $27.408 billion is for the Department of Justice, $24.838 billion is for the science...

Remote Gaming and the Gambling Industry

Limiting Central Government Budget Deficits: International Experiences

Greece’s Debt Crisis: Overview, Policy Responses, and Implications

The Eurozone is facing a serious sovereign debt crisis. Several Eurozone member countries have high, potentially unsustainable levels of public debt. Three—Greece, Ireland, and Portugal—have borrowed money from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to avoid default. With the largest public debt and one of the largest budget deficits in the Eurozone, Greece is at the center of the crisis. The crisis is a continuing interest to Congress due to the strong economic and political ties between the United States and Europe.

Build-Up of Greece’s Debt Crisis

In...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2011 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). It also provides an overview of FY2010 appropriations for agencies and bureaus funded as a part of the annual appropriation for CJS.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), included a total of $68.705 billion in new budget authority for CJS. Of the $68.705 billion appropriated for FY2010, $14.035 billion was for the Department of Commerce, $28.078 billion was for the Department of Justice, $25.658 billion was for the...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2011 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President, the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the Small Business Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, and the United States Postal Service.

The FSGG FY2010 appropriations were provided through P.L. 111-117, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. P.L. 111-117 provided $46.265 billion for FSGG agencies in FY2010. In addition, P.L. 111-80...

Imports from North Korea: Existing Rules, Implications of the KORUS FTA, and the Kaesong Industrial Complex

In early 2011, many Members of Congress focused their attention on U.S. rules and practices governing the importation of products and components from North Korea. Their interest was stimulated by debate over the proposed South Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) and the question of whether the agreement could lead to increased imports from North Korea. Some observers, particularly many opposed to the agreement, have argued that the KORUS FTA could increase imports from North Korea if South Korean firms re-export items made in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), a seven-year-old...

Japan’s 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Economic Effects and Implications for the United States

The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan followed by the nuclear crisis are having a large negative impact on the economy of Japan but a lesser effect on world trade and financial markets. Japan has lost considerable physical and human capital. Physical damage has been estimated to be from $195 billion to as much as $305 billion. (Greece’s GDP is $330 billion.) In excess of 23,000 persons in Japan are killed or missing, and more than 400,000 homes and other buildings have been totally or partially damaged. The negative effects of the earthquake and tsunami have...

The Construction Sector in the U.S. Economy

The construction sector is a major component of the U.S. economy. During the past decade, construction was a prime beneficiary of low interest rates and the housing-led economic boom, but was also one of the largest casualties of the subsequent financial crisis. Construction spending comprised about 7%-8% of U.S. annual economic output from 1995 to mid-2000, reaching nearly 9% of gross domestic product at the peak of the housing run-up in 2006, before declining to about 5% in 2010. Likewise, construction employment ranged from a low of about 4.6 million during the early 1990s to a high of...

Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges

Congress and the Obama Administration are seeking to manage longstanding bilateral and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-based defense cooperation with Turkey at a time when a more independent Turkish foreign policy course and changes in regional security conditions are creating new challenges for both countries. Defense cooperation rooted in shared threat perceptions from the Cold War era and built on close U.S. ties with the Turkish military leadership now must be reconciled with a decline of the military’s political influence in Turkish society and some negative turns in Turkish...

Japan 2011 Disaster: CRS Experts

Iraq’s Debt Relief: Procedure and Potential Implications for International Debt Relief

This report discusses the Iraqi debt problem in three parts: [1] overview of the Iraq debt situation following the ouster of the Saddam regime; [2] subsequent debt relief negotiations and their resolution; [3] possible implications for future debt relief cases that arise from Iraq's experience. The implications are: a willingness by the international community to grant a stay on the enforcement of creditor rights; an increased flexibility in Paris Club debt relief decisions; and an unwillingness by successor regimes to claim that their debt is odious and repudiate it.

Trade in Services: The Doha Development Agenda Negotiations and U.S. Goals

The United States and the other 153 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been conducting a set or “round” of negotiations called the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) since the end of 2001. The DDA’s main objective is to refine and expand the rules by which WTO members conduct foreign trade with one another. A critical element of the DDA round is the negotiations pertaining to foreign trade in services. Trade in services has been covered under multilateral rules only since 1995 with the entry into force of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and of the Uruguay Round...

The U.S. Trade Deficit, the Dollar, and the Price of Oil

This report analyzes the relationship between the dollar and the price of oil and how the two might interact. This report provides an assessment of the impact a range of prices of imported oil could have on the U.S. trade deficit.

Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), an independent federal government agency, is the official export credit agency of the United States. It helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services, with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers, primarily in circumstances when alternative financing is not available. Ex-Im Bank also may assist U.S. exporters to meet foreign, officially sponsored, export credit competition. Ex-Im Bank's main programs are direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital guarantees, and export credit...

The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition

Economic Recovery and Jobs: CRS Experts

Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy

As the world begins the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States holds what should be a winning hand of a preeminent military, large economy, strong alliances, and democratic values. The nation’s security should be secure. Yet the debate over national security seems to be both intensifying and broadening. The problem appears not only in the difficulty of finding a winning strategy in the long war against acts of terrorism but having to face economic constraints that loom large in the public debate. In addition, the global financial crisis and recession have highlighted...

China-North Korea Relations

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) plays a key role in U.S. policy toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). The PRC is North Korea’s closest ally, largest provider of food, fuel, and industrial machinery, and arguably the country most able to wield influence in Pyongyang. China also is the host of the Six-Party Talks (involving the United States, China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and Russia) over North Korea’s nuclear program. The close PRC-DPRK relationship is of interest to U.S. policymakers because China plays a pivotal role in the success of U.S....

General Motors' Initial Public Offering: Review of Issues and Implications for TARP

This report analyzes the progress General Motors Company has made since it was created from the sale of the bankrupt Old GM in July 2009 and the major issues related to its anticipated 2010 initial public offering (IPO).

Accelerated Vehicle Retirement Programs in Japan and South Korea: Background for Congress

This report discusses the accelerated vehicle retirement (AVR) programs initiated in 2009 by the United States, Japan, South Korea, and other industrial nations (commonly known in the U.S. as the "cash for clunkers" program). The U.S. program began in June 2009, when President Obama signed the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act. The report discusses how these various AVR programs affected the automobile industries in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, specifically. Neither Japan nor South Korea imports large numbers of foreign vehicles, a circumstance not much altered by AVR...

China's Steel Industry and Its Impact on the United States: Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of China's steel industry and discusses the issues and implications with regard to the U.S. steel sector.

Frequently Asked Questions about IMF Involvement in the Eurozone Debt Crisis

On May 2, 2010, the Eurozone member states and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced an unprecedented €110 billion (about $145 billion) financial assistance package for Greece. The following week, on May 9, 2010, EU leaders announced that they would make an additional €500 billion (about $636 billion) in financial assistance available to vulnerable European countries, and suggested that the IMF could contribute up to an additional €220 billion to €250 billion (about $280 billion to $318 billion). This report answers frequently asked questions about IMF involvement in the Eurozone...

FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Other Programs

The Administration requested $64.3 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations: $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan; $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid; and $2.8 billion for Haiti earthquake-related relief and reconstruction aid; $243 million for activities related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; $600 million for border security, and $129 million to reduce backlogs in patent requests;...

The OECD Initiative on Tax Havens

This report examines the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its role in changes to U.S. laws related to bribery, tax havens.

CRS Issue Statement on Canada

World Trade Organization (WTO): Issues in the Debate on Continued U.S. Participation

Following World War II, the United States led efforts to establish an open and nondiscriminatory trading system with the expressed goal of raising the economic well-being of all countries and bolstering world peace. These efforts culminated in the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1948, a provisional agreement on tariffs and trade rules that governed world trade for 47 years. The World Trade Organization (WTO) succeeded the GATT in 1995 and today serves as a permanent body that administers the rules and agreements negotiated and signed by 153 participating...

Trade Remedies and the WTO Rules Negotiations

At the November 2001 Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha, Qatar, member countries launched a new round of trade talks known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Discussions continue, although negotiations at this time seem to be at an impasse.

One of the negotiating objectives in the DDA called for “clarifying and improving disciplines” under the WTO Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (Antidumping Agreement or ADA) and the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (Subsidies Agreement or...

Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response

The largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti devastated parts of the country, including the capital, on January 12, 2010. The quake, centered about 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, had a magnitude of 7.0. A series of strong aftershocks have followed. Experts estimate the earthquake caused $8 to $14 billion in damage. Approximately 3 million people, roughly one-third of the overall population, have been affected by the earthquake with estimates ranging from 1.2 to 2 million people displaced. The government of Haiti is reporting an estimated 230,000 deaths and 300,600 injured. In the...

U.S.-Vietnam Economic and Trade Relations: Issues for the 111th Congress

After more than two decades of virtually no economic contact, the United States and Vietnam reestablished trade relations during the 1990s. Since then, Vietnam has rapidly risen to become a significant trading partner for the United States. Bilateral trade has risen from about $220 million in 1994 to $15.4 billion in 2009. Vietnam is the second-largest source of U.S. clothing imports, and a major source for footwear, furniture, and electrical machinery. Much of this rapid growth in bilateral trade can be attributed to U.S. extension of normal trade relations (NTR) status to Vietnam....

North Korea’s Second Nuclear Test: Implications of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Res. 1874 on June 12, 2009, in response to North Korea’s second nuclear test. The resolution puts in place a series of sanctions on North Korea’s arms sales, luxury goods, and financial transactions related to its weapons programs, and calls upon states to inspect North Korean vessels suspected of carrying such shipments. The resolution does allow for shipments of food and nonmilitary goods. As was the case with an earlier U.N. resolution, 1718, that was passed in October 2006 after North Korea’s first nuclear test, Resolution 1874...

Outsourcing and Insourcing Jobs in the U.S. Economy: An Overview of Evidence Based on Foreign Investment Data

This report provides an overview of evidence based on roreign investment data that analyzes the extent of direct investment into and out of the economy, as well as the relationship between direct investment and the broader economic changes that are occurring in the U.S. economy.

Economic Impacts of Prison Growth

This report provides an economic overview of the correctional sector as background for the unfolding debate over spending and other policies. It begins with information on the growth in prison populations in public and in private prisons and also briefly explores the economic impacts of prison location. It is not intended a study of the effectiveness of sentencing and other laws, nor of evolving polices aimed at reducing recidivism and prison populations.

Macroprudential Oversight: Monitoring Systemic Risk in the Financial System

Recent innovations in finance, while increasing the capacity to borrow and lend, resulted in a large volume of banking transactions occurring outside of traditional banking institutions. Also, even though existing regulators supervise individual banks for safety and soundness, there are risks that do not reside with those institutions but may still adversely affect the banking system as a whole. Macroprudential policy refers to a variety of tasks designed to defend the broad financial system against threats to its stability. Responsibilities include monitoring the system for systemic risk...

The U.S. Motor Vehicle Industry: Confronting a New Dynamic in the Global Economy

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the 2009 crisis in the U.S. auto industry and its prospects for regaining domestic and global competitiveness. It also analyzes business and policy issues arising from the unprecedented restructurings that occurred within the industry. The starting point for this analysis is June-July 2009, with General Motors Company (GM or new GM) and Chrysler Group LLC (or new Chrysler) incorporated as new companies, having selectively acquired many, but not all, assets from their predecessor companies.

Iceland's Financial Crisis

This report discusses the banking collapse in Iceland. Iceland's banking system had collapsed as a result of a culmination of a series of decisions the banks made that left them highly exposed to disruptions in financial markets. The collapse of the banks raised questions for U.S. leaders and others about supervising banks that operate across national borders, especially as it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the limits of domestic financial markets.

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2010 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On May 7, 2009, the Obama Administration delivered its FY2010 budget request to...

Accelerated Vehicle Retirement for Fuel Economy: "Cash for Clunkers"

This report outlines the key provisions of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) program established by P.L. 111-32, which provide rebates to prospective purchasers toward the purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles, provided the trade-in vehicles are scrapped. It discusses the impact of the program on the economy and also summarizes similar programs in other industrial countries.

Foreign Direct Investment: Current Issues

This report presents an overview of current issues related to foreign direct investment in the economy and the development of U.S. policy toward inward and outward direct investment. This report also assesses the role of foreign direct investment in the economy and the costs and benefits of direct investment.

The Global Financial Crisis: Analysis and Policy Implications

The world appears to be recovering from the global recession that has caused widespread business contraction, increases in unemployment, and shrinking government revenues. Although the industrialized economies have stopped contracting, for many, unemployment is still rising. The United States likely hit bottom in June 2009, but numerous small banks and households still face huge problems in restoring their balance sheets, and unemployment has combined with sub-prime loans to keep home foreclosures at a high rate. Nearly all industrialized countries and many emerging and developing nations...

Government Interventions in Response to Financial Turmoil

This report reviews new programs introduced and other actions taken by the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in response to the recent financial crisis. It does not cover longstanding programs such as the Fed's discount window and FDIC receivership of failed banks.

Afghanistan and Pakistan Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs), H.R. 1318/H.R. 1886/H.R. 2410 and S. 496: Issues and Arguments

This report discusses legislation related to the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (H.R. 1886), the Afghanistan-Pakistan Security and Prosperity Enhancement Act (H.R. 1318), and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410). It also discusses the Afghanistan and Pakistan Reconstruction Opportunity Zones Act (S. 496).

U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones: Trade Agreement Parity (TAP) Proposal

This report provides an introduction to U.S. Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ). The report discusses the details of the Trade Agreement Parity (TAP) proposal, the potential winners and losers under the TAP proposal, economic studies on the TAP proposal, and policy analysis on the TAP proposal.

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2010 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2010 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). This report uses the House report to accompany H.R. 2847 (H.Rept. 111-149) and the text of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-32), as the source for the FY2009-enacted and the FY2010-requested amounts, and it uses the Senate report to accompany H.R. 2847 (S.Rept. 111-34) as the source for the amounts in the House-passed bill. The Senate-passed version of H.R. 2847 is used as the source for the Senate-passed amounts. The...

Pakistan—Internal Stability and U.S. Response: CRS Experts

Advertising Industry in the Digital Age

This report discusses regulatory challenges faced by policymakers as the advertising industry enters a period of far-reaching change brought about by the economic downturn and structural shifts as consumers move to the Internet and other digital platforms for news, entertainment, and socializing.

Terrorism in Southeast Asia

Since September 2001, the United States has increased focus on radical Islamist and terrorist groups in Southeast Asia, particularly those in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Southeast Asia has been a base for terrorist operations. Al Qaeda penetrated the region by establishing local cells, training Southeast Asians in its camps in Afghanistan, and by financing and cooperating with indigenous radical Islamist groups. Indonesia and the southern Philippines have been particularly vulnerable to penetration by Islamic terrorist groups.

Members of one indigenous...

Renewable Energy—A Pathway to Green Jobs?

In the United States, growing awareness of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the possible implications for global climate change have combined with recent high energy prices and economic uncertainty to rekindle interest in renewable energy. Renewable energy technologies generate electricity from resources such as the sun, wind, or biomass, with essentially no net GHG emissions. President Obama has declared a goal for the United States to become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy technologies, setting out policy objectives for the development of related “green jobs”.

Green...

Burma: Economic Sanctions

This report provides background information on existing economic sanctions against Burma and possible options to expand sanctions.

FY2009 Spring Supplemental Appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations

On June 11, 2009, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees announced a conference agreement on H.R. 2346, a bill providing supplemental appropriations for the remainder of FY2009. The House passed the conference report (226 to 202) on June 16; the Senate passed it (91 to 5) on June 18. President Obama signed it into law (P.L. 111-32) on June 24.

On key issues, the agreement includes: $5 billion, as in the Senate bill, to support U.S. loans to the International Monetary Fund, does not include a Senate provision allowing the Secretary of Defense to exempt photos of military detainees...

U.S. Motor Vehicle Industry: Federal Financial Assistance and Restructuring

This report focuses on the current situation faced by the Detroit 3, key aspects of their current crisis, including possible consequences of a failure of one or more companies, and some aspects of legislative actions that have been considered to bridge their financial conditions to a more stable situation.

Science and Technology Policymaking: A Primer

Scientific and technical knowledge and guidance influences not just policy related to science and technology, but also many of today’s public policies as policymakers seek knowledge to enhance the quality of their decisions. Science and technology policy is concerned with the allocation of resources for and encouragement of scientific and engineering research and development, the use of scientific and technical knowledge to enhance the nation’s response to societal challenges, and the education of Americans in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Science and engineering...

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2009 Appropriations

The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill includes funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 26 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On September 30, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing...

Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies: FY2009 Appropriations

This report provides an overview of actions taken by Congress to provide FY2009 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS). On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 111-8). In the Omnibus, Congress appropriated $60.538 billion for CJS agencies. This amount was $4.578 billion more than the FY2008 enacted level (an 8.2% increase) and $3.488 billion more than the amended FY2009 request (a 6.1% increase). The Omnibus included $9.268 billion for the Department of Commerce, $26.120 billion for the Department of...

The Global Financial Crisis: Foreign and Trade Policy Effects

The global financial and economic crisis affects all three of the essential national interests of the United States: national security, economic well being, and value projection. Only occasionally does an event of this magnitude occur that generates such daunting challenges yet also opportunities for U.S. policy. The effects of the crisis on foreign policy, trade, and security are so diverse and widespread that, out of necessity, policy responses must range from the highly specific to the broad and ethereal.

This report provides an overview of the major non-financial effects of the global...

U.S. Foreign Trade in Services: Definition, Patterns and Policy Challenges

The term “services” refers to a broad and widening range of economic activities such as accounting and legal services, banking, transportation, tourism, and telecommunications. Services are a significant sector of the U.S. economy, accounting for almost 70% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and for over 80% of U.S. civilian employment.

Services have become an important element of U.S. foreign trade, consistently generating surpluses. The European Union is by far the most important U.S. trade partner in services, accounting for more than 50% of U.S. trade in services.

The increasing...

U.S. Policies on Iraq: CRS Experts

The following table provides access to names and contact information for CRS experts on policy concerns relating to Iraq. Policy areas identified include: U.S. policies on Iraq; governance in Iraq and U.S. military issues; refugees, internally displaced persons, and humanitarian assistance; prospects for Iraq's economy; resource and funding requirements; and the international context--the regional political and security environment.

The African Development Bank Group

This report discusses the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, which is a regional development bank (RDB) "dedicated to combating poverty and improving the lives of people of the continent." It comprises three lending facilities: the market rate facility, the AfDB; a concessional lending facility, the African Development Fund; and a trust fund established by Nigeria to lend to low-income African countries. The Bank has 53 African members, as well as 24 non-regional members, including the United States.

Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 110th Congress

Over the past two decades, the Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides in terms of political and economic development, with regular free and fair elections the norm in most countries. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it rebounded from 2004-2007, with strong economic growth. In 2008, however, the advent of the global financial crisis and U.S. economic recession began to be felt in Latin America. Growth began to slow as commodity prices and the demand for exports and services from the region declined. Several nations also...

U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2008: Background and Issues for Congress

After communist North Vietnam’s victory over U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975, U.S.-Vietnam relations remained essentially frozen until the mid-1990s. Since then, bilateral ties have expanded remarkably, to the point where the relationship has been virtually normalized. Indeed, since 2002, overlapping strategic and economic interests have compelled the United States and Vietnam to improve relations across a wide spectrum of issues. Congress played a significant role in the normalization process and continues to influence the state of bilateral relations. Voices favoring improved relations...

Sino-Japanese Relations: Issues for U.S. Policy

After a period of diplomatic rancor earlier this decade, Japan and China have demonstrably improved their bilateral relationship. The emerging détente includes breakthrough agreements on territorial disputes, various high-level exchanges, and reciprocal port calls by naval vessels. Over the past ten years, China-Japan economic interdependence has grown as trade and investment flows have surged. China -Japan economic ties serve as an anchor for the overall bilateral relationship and have become the center of a robust East Asian trade and investment network. On the other hand, military...

The World Bank's Clean Technology Fund (CTF)

The United States Treasury has led efforts to create a $10 billion Clean Technology Fund (CTF), located at the World Bank, to help fund deployment of clean technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing economies. The Bush administration has asked Congress to authorize and appropriate U.S. funding of $2 billion over three years (FY2009 to FY2011). While many Members of Congress have expressed support for the CTF, others have raised concerns, primarily with respect to whether the CTF should finance carbon-based energy projects. To date, Congress has not passed legislation...

Federal Loans to the Auto Industry Under the Energy Independence and Security Act

This report examines various programs considered by Congress, including grants and loans, to help automakers with the increased cost of compliance with higher fuel economy standards.

The U.S. Financial Crisis: Lessons from Sweden

In the early 1990s, Sweden faced a large banking and exchange rate crisis which it eventually resolved. Four lessons that emerged from Sweden's experience are: 1) the resolution process must be transparent; 2) the resolution agency must be politically and financially independent; 3) market discipline must be maintained; and 4) there must be a plan to jump-start credit flows in the financial system. This report provides an overview of the Swedish banking crisis and an explanation of the measures Sweden used to restore its banking system to health.

National Flood Insurance Program: Treasury Borrowing in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

In 2008, Hurricanes Ike, Gustav, and Dolly made landfall in the United States, causing widespread flood damage. Exactly three years earlier, claims and expenses related to the massive flooding caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma had financially overwhelmed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that the NFIP will need about $3 billion in additional borrowing authority to cover the claims currently outstanding and a yet to be determined amount for the 2008 Hurricanes. Congress is currently working to reform the NFIP...

Low-Income Country Debt Cancellation: H.R. 2634 and S. 2166

This report discusses previous efforts to cancel debt owed by low-income countries. It summarizes the Jubilee debt reduction proposal and provides an overview of House and Senate action. It assesses the likely cost of a possible Jubilee debt reduction program. Finally, the report examines some possible implementation and policy issues.

Comparing Global Influence: China’s and U.S. Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Trade, and Investment in the Developing World

This report compares the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) and U.S. projections of global influence, with an emphasis on non-coercive means or “soft power,” and suggests ways to think about U.S. foreign policy options in light of China’s emergence. Part One discusses U.S. foreign policy interests, China’s rising influence, and its implications for the United States. Part Two compares the global public images of the two countries and describes PRC and U.S. uses of soft power tools, such as public diplomacy, state diplomacy, and foreign assistance. It also examines other forms of soft power...

China’s Economy and the Beijing Olympics

China will host the 2008 Olympic Summer Games from August 8 to 24, 2008. Most of the events will be held in the vicinity of Beijing, with selected competitions held in Hong Kong, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Tianjin. Since the International Olympic Committee’s decision in July 2001 to select Beijing as the host for the 2008 Olympics, China has spent billions of dollars for facilities and basic infrastructure in preparation for the international event. China anticipates that the 2008 Olympics will provide both short-term and long-term direct and indirect benefits to its...

Tax Deductions for Catastrophic Risk Insurance Reserves: Explanation and Economic Analysis

According to the Insurance Services Office, Inc., (ISO), the property/casualty (p/c) insurance industry paid $62.2 billion in catastrophe losses from 24 disasters and more than 4.4 million claims in 2005, making 2005 the most costly year for catastrophe losses. This report begins by providing some background on the market for catastrophe insurance. It continues by describing the proposal for tax-deductible reserve accounts as set forth in H.R. 164/S. 926 of the 110th Congress, and concludes by providing an economic analysis of the plan.

Trade Remedies: “New Shipper” Reviews

Foreign Direct Investment: Effects of a ”Cheap” Dollar

Financial Services and General Government (FSGG): FY2008 Appropriations

FY2008 appropriations for Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) agencies were originally proposed in H.R. 2829. The bill included funding for the Department of the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President (EOP), the judiciary, the District of Columbia, and 20 independent agencies. Among the independent agencies funded by the bill are the General Services Administration (GSA), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the United States Postal Service (USPS).

On June 28, 2007, the House approved $43.8 billion for H.R. 2829, a...

Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: FY2008 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 110th Congress for the FY2008 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (P.L. 110-161), Congress has provided $54.637 billion in CJS appropriations, a 3.4% increase over the FY2007 enacted level and a 2.2% increase over the Administration’s request. This amount includes $6.857 billion for the Department of Commerce (a 3.5% increase over the FY2007 enacted level), $23.592 billion for the Department of Justice (a 1.6% increase), $23.38 billion for science agencies (a 5.3%...

The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995, under an agreement reached during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Uruguay Round was the last of a series of periodic trade negotiations held under the auspices of the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

The WTO is the most important international organization that governs world trade. Decisions are made by the member countries. The WTO has 151 members and 31 observer governments (most of which have applied for membership), and members represent over 95% of...

Motor Vehicle Manufacturing Employment: National and State Trends and Issues

The 110th Congress is addressing many issues that could have a major impact on the U.S. motor vehicle manufacturing industry. This includes adopting new fuel economy standards for automobiles and light trucks (P.L. 110-140), plus consideration of legislation that may be used to help promote the manufacturing of future generations of fuel-efficient vehicles (S. 2191). This report looks at four sets of issues that have received attention in Congress or among the public more widely, with respect to employment in the U.S. motor manufacturing industry.

Steel: Price and Policy Issues

Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Renewal: Core Labor Standards Issues

Russian Oil and Gas Challenges

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2007 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2007 appropriations bill. Appropriations bills reflect the jurisdiction of the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in which they are considered. Jurisdictions for the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees changed at the beginning of the 109th Congress.

On September 29, 2006, Congress passed the Defense Department Appropriation...

The Group of Eight Summits: Evolution and Possible Reform

Exon-Florio Foreign Investment Provision: Overview of H.R. 556

U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement

Is China a Threat to the U.S. Economy?

Haitian Textile Industry: Impact of Proposed Trade Assistance

Russian Natural Gas: Regional Dependence

Caspian Oil and Gas: Production and Prospects

Textile and Apparel Trade Issues

Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues for the 109th Congress

Over the past two decades, the Latin America and Caribbean region has made enormous strides in terms of political and economic development. In 2006, elections for head of government were held in 12 countries in the region, including the close election in Mexico in July, the re-election of presidents in Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, and Venezuela, and the election of former heads of government in Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, and St. Lucia. Although the region overall experienced an economic setback in 2002-2003, it has rebounded since 2004. Nevertheless, several nations faced...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 110th Congress

The 110th Congress will face a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues in the opening days of its tenure. This report identifies major issues most likely to be on the legislative agenda, discusses critical policy choices at stake, and summarizes some of the major alternatives that Congress may consider. The report lists Congressional Research Service reports that address these issues, and it identifies key analysts and their areas of responsibility.

A major issue confronting the new Congress is what to do in Iraq. The Baker/Hamilton-led Iraq Study Group recommended...

BSE (“Mad Cow Disease”): A Brief Overview

The appearance of BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “mad cow disease”) in North America in 2003 raised meat safety concerns and disrupted trade for cattle and beef producers. A major issue for Congress has been how to rebuild foreign markets for U.S. beef. Other issues include whether additional measures are needed to further protect the public and cattle herd, and concerns over the relative costs and benefits of such measures for consumers, taxpayers and industry.

This report summarizes and updates information found in other CRS reports; see “For More Information.” Sources for...

9/11 Commission Recommendations: Implementation Status

This report provides a review of the 9/11 Commission recommendations and the status of their implementation at the end of the 109th Congress. The discussions herein are organized on the basis of policy themes that are at the core of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, rather than through a review of each numbered item set out in the Commission’s final report. The analysis was produced by a large team of CRS Specialists, analysts, and attorneys who are responsible for the wide variety of policy areas covered by the 9/11 Commission in its work. The authors of the varied segments of this...

U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement

Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fee on Coal

Federal Counter-Terrorism Training: Issues for Congressional Oversight

Federal counter-terrorism training programs are varied and are provided by numerous federal agencies and departments. Some of these departments and agencies include the Departments of Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each department and agency provides specific counter-terrorism training targeted to given categories of recipients. Training recipients include federal, state, and local government personnel, emergency responders, and private and public...

Asbestos Litigation: Prospects for Legislative Resolution

Export-Import Bank: Reauthorization

This report discusses the ongoing debate regarding the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a federal government corporation which is the the official export credit agency (ECA) of the U.S. Government.

Safeguards on Textile and Apparel Imports from China

Coal Mine Safety

FY2006 Supplemental Appropriations: Iraq and Other International Activities; Additional Hurricane Katrina Relief

This report discusses the two separate FY2006 supplemental appropriations requests submitted on February 16, 2006. The first, totaling $72.4 billion, would fund ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan ($67.9 billion), non-DOD intelligence operations ($0.3 billion), State Department operations in Iraq and various foreign aid programs, including additional assistance for Iraq ($4.2 billion), and other counter-terrorism funding for other agencies ($12 million). The other supplemental would provide $19.8 billion for recovery and reconstruction activities in hurricane affected Gulf...

Arab League Boycott of Israel

WTO: Antidumping Issues in the Doha Development Agenda

Argentina's Sovereign Debt Restructuring

In December 2001, after four years of deepening recession, impending financial crisis, and mounting social unrest, Argentina's government suddenly collapsed and ceased all payments on its debt. Argentina has failed to pay before, but this time it registered the largest sovereign default in history. Total public debt grew from 62% of GDP in late 2001 to a record-breaking and unsustainable 164% following default and devaluation in early 2002. Argentina faced restructuring over $100 billion of debt owed to domestic and international bondholders, including $10-15 billion of bonds held by...

ANWR Leasing Revenue Estimates

Generalized System of Preferences

This report discusses the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which provides preferential tariff treatment to certain products that are imported from designated developing countries. The primary purpose of the program, which the United States and other industrial countries initiated in the 1970s, is to promote economic growth in developing countries and countries in transition by stimulating their exports. The program was last reauthorized through December 31, 2006, by the 107th Congress in section 4101 of the Trade Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-210).

Mercosur and U.S. Trade Policy

Tariff Modifications: Miscellaneous Duty Suspension Bills

LIHEAP and Residential Energy Costs

The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment

The proposed acquisition of major operations in six major U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World and of Unocal by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation sparked intense concerns among some Members of Congress and the public and has reignited the debate over what role foreign acquisitions play in U.S. national security. The United States actively promotes internationally the national treatment of foreign firms. Several Members of Congress have introduced various measures during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress that can be grouped into four major areas: those that deal specifically with...

High Performance Computers and Export Control Policy: Issues for Congress

Congress has a strong interest in export control policy with regard to technologies that may have both commercial and military applications outside of the United States. Through its constitutionally delegated authority to regulate foreign commerce, Congress has the authority to control exports for national security or foreign policy purposes. This report examines congressional interest in the exportation of High Performance Computers, which are either single computing machines (usually called supercomputers) or a cluster of easily available, high-end workstations or personal computers.

ANWR Development: Economic Impacts

The World Trade Organization: The Hong Kong Ministerial

The World Trade Organization (WTO) held its 6th Ministerial summit in Hong Kong from December 13-18, 2005. WTO Ministerials are held every two years to bring together trade ministers from member states, often to make political decisions for the body. Although an original goal of the Ministerial was to agree on a package of modalities (methods by which the round is negotiated) for the ongoing Doha Development Agenda (DDA) round of trade negotiations, this aim was dropped in order to avoid a high-profile failure similar to previous Ministerials at Cancun and Seattle. Rather, members agreed...

Textile and Apparel Quota Phaseout: Some Economic Implications

Science, State, Justice, Commerce and Related Agencies (House)/Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Senate): FY2006 Appropriations

This report monitors actions taken by the 109th Congress for the House’s Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies (SSJC) and the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) FY2006 appropriations legislation. Appropriations bills reflect the jurisdiction of the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in which they are considered. Jurisdictions for the subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees changed at the beginning of the 109th Congress. In the 108th Congress, both the House and Senate subcommittees had...

Central America and the Dominican Republic in the Context of the Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) with the United States

This report explains the conditions in five countries in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua) and one country in the Caribbean (Dominican Republic) that will be partners with the United States in the U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) signed in August 2004. All of the signatory countries except Costa Rica have approved the pact. The agreement will enter into force for the approving countries on an agreed date, tentatively January 1, 2006. In U.S. approval action, the House and Senate passed the...

Foreign Relations Authorization, FY2006 and FY2007: An Overview

The foreign relations authorization process dovetails with the annual appropriation process for the Department of State, foreign policy, and foreign assistance. Congress is required by law to authorize the spending of appropriations for the State Department and foreign policy activities every two years. The last time Congress passed a stand-alone foreign relations authorization bill was in FY2003 ( P.L. 107-228 ). Foreign assistance authorization measures (such as authorization for the U.S. Agency for International Development, economic and military assistance to foreign countries,...

China and Sub-Saharan Africa

The Jackson-Vanik Amendment: A Survey

This report discusses the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which was enacted as part of the Trade Act of 1974 and was directly a U.S. reaction to the severe restrictions the Soviet Union had placed in late 1972 on the emigration of its citizens, but was expanded in its scope to apply to all so-called “nonmarket economy” (NME) countries. The amendment, in effect, requires compliance with its specific free-emigration criteria as a key condition for the restoration of certain benefits theretofore denied to NME countries in their economic relations with the United States.

Unocal Corporation’s Oil and Gas

Egypt-United States Relations

Among the current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations are the shared concerns over the terrorist attacks against Egyptian police, religious, government, and tourist facilities, and what those attacks maysignal for Egypt’s domestic stability. The two nations may disagree over Egypt’s interpretation of applying human rights practices to Islamic terrorists. The two countries disagree over the speed and depth, but not the need for some of Egypt’s economic reforms. Egypt and the United States agree on the importance of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the need to continue current Arab-Israel...

DR-CAFTA, Textiles, and Apparel

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), signed on August 5, 2004, by the United States, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic is a comprehensive and reciprocal trade agreement that, if ratified by all parties, would govern market access of goods, services trade, investment, government procurement, intellectual property, labor, and the environment. With respect to textiles and apparel, DR-CAFTA is comparatively less restrictive than most other trade agreements and trade preference programs regarding...

Iraq’s Trade with the World: Data and Analysis

This report provides detailed trade information and statistics on Iraq’s trade with the world from 2001 to 2003, highlighting its major trading partners. Data on U.S. trade with Iraq from 2002 to 2004 are also provided.

The Asian Development Bank

Iraq: Debt Relief

The Doha Development Agenda: The WTO Framework Agreement

On July 31, 2004, the 147 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reached a Framework Agreement for conducting future Doha Round trade negotiations. The Framework Agreement is the latest step in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) round of trade negotiations at the WTO, which was launched at the 4th Ministerial of the WTO at Doha, Qatar in November 2001. This report provides analysis of the framework agreement and its significant results (agriculture, industrial market access, services, and trade facilitation) in the context of U.S. objectives. The Framework addresses the three...

Asbestos: Federal Regulation of Uses

Appropriations for FY2005: Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies

This report monitors actions taken by the 108th Congress on FY2005 appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the judiciary and related agencies (often referred to as the CJS appropriations). The Administration requested $43.216 billion for CJS appropriations in its FY2005 budget request sent to Congress on February 2, 2004. In the spring of 2004, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees held hearings on these requests. The House Appropriations Committee reported out its unnumbered bill on June 23, 2004, recommending a total of $43.483 billion for CJS in...

Trade Legislation in the 108th Congress

When the 108th Congress convened in January 2003, few observers predicted that trade would be a top legislative concern. Congress, just six months earlier, had passed by a narrow margin the Trade Act of 2002 ( P.L. 107-210 ), the first major piece of trade legislation in almost a decade. Nevertheless, trade remained a top-level domestic and foreign policy issue in 2003 and 2004. The 108th Congress completed work on a number of major trade bills. Most notably, bills to implement free trade agreements (FTAs) with Chile, Singapore, Australia, and Morocco, and to enhance trade benefits for...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 109th Congress

The 109th Congress will likely address a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense and trade issues. This report identifies the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, and provides information and analysis to support Congress in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues. The report also provides lists of selected CRS products that provide more detailed analysis. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress has increasingly been confronted with issues relating to the war on terrorism and homeland security. Congress will likely be particularly interested in...

Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Locations and Inventory

H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004): A Comparative Analysis

This comparative analysis of H.R. 10 (9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act) and S. 2845 (National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004) is an assessment of major similarities and differences between the two bills as passed by the House (October 8, 2004) and Senate (October 6, 2004) and under conference consideration.

References to the two bills are to engrossed versions. The presentation is organized to follow the basic construct of the House bill, because its coverage remained more stable through the legislative process to date. For purposes of clarity, we refer to the House-passed bill as...

International Remittances: A Primer

Turkey: Update on Selected Issues

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) remain popular and have a firm hold on power in Turkey. The AKP is trying to recast itself from an Islamist-rooted party to a centrist "conservative democratic" party. Although some AKP actions fuel secularist suspicions of a hidden Islamist agenda, the high priority that the party gives to attaining European Union (EU) membership may mitigate fears about its intentions and support its centrist ambitions. The government remains focused on the economy. With the aid of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it...

Country Applicability of the U.S. Normal Trade Relations (Most-Favored-Nation) Status

The United States accords permanent normal-trade-relations (NTR) (formerly called most-favored-nation (MFN)) treatment to all its trading partners except six countries to which it is denied by law and 11 countries whose NTR status is temporary and subject to the conditions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974.

WTO: Trade Remedies in the Doha Round

Foreign Investment Issues in the WTO

Trade Remedies and The U.S.-China Bilateral WTO Accession Agreement

The November 1999 U.S.-China bilateral agreement on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) addresses a range of U.S. foreign trade and investment concerns related to China's entry into the WTO. In particular, U.S. import-sensitive industries are wary of the impact from increased imports that might result from China's WTO membership. The bilateral agreement allows the United States to continue to use, at least temporarily, special trade remedy procedures against surges of imports and against dumped and subsidized imports from China that it has used since the two countries...

Steel: Legislative and Oversight Issues

Export-Import Bank: Financing Requirements and Restrictions

The Export-Import Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that is charged with financing and promoting exports of U.S. goods and services. The Bank operates under a renewable charter, the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, as amended, and has been authorized through September 30, 2006. Congress has amended the Bank’s charter at times to meet various objectives, primarily U.S. foreign policy and international economic goals. These amendments restrict the Bank’s activities relative to particular types of economic activities or have acted to advance other U.S. goals and objectives, such as...

Diamonds and Conflict: Background, Policy, and Legislation

In several diamond-rich countries affected by armed conflict, notably in Africa, belligerents have funded their military activities by mining and selling diamonds, and competition over the use and control of diamond wealth has contributed significantly to the depth and extended duration of these conflicts. Diamonds used in this fashion, labeled "conflict diamonds," were estimated to have comprised an estimated 3.7 % to 15% of the value of the global diamond trade in 2000. The present volume of such trade appears is difficult to estimate. Several diamond-related conflicts have ended, but...

The Financial Crisis in Argentina

After nearly four years of recession, Argentina plunged into a severe political and financial crisis that ended the presidency of Fernando de la Rua on December 20, 2001. On January 1, 2002, the Argentine Congress selected Peronist Party leader Eduardo Duhalde to complete his term of office. For over a year, President Duhalde struggled with Congress to define an economic strategy that would unify the country and solidify support for a new round of international financial assistance. Unable to come to terms with the IMF over a medium-term package, on January 24, 2003 the Fund approved,...

The Argentine Financial Crisis: A Chronology of Events

In December 2001, after four years of recession and escalating social unrest, Argentina's economy collapsed, forcing the resignation of President Fernando de la Rua. After a period of short-term presidential successions, on January 1, 2002, the Argentine Congress selected Eduardo Duhalde to complete de la Rua's December 2003 term. Duhalde then struggled to resolve Argentina's deep-seated economic and political problems. The seeds of Argentina's financial and political crisis were planted in 1991 with adoption of a currency board to fight hyperinflation, a plan that rested on the guaranteed...

Iraq's Economy: Past, Present, Future

This report discusses the government of Iraq and its active role in stimulating and directing the Iraqi economy.This report identifies issues to be addressed before Iraq can participate normally in the world economy.

Trade Promotion Authority (Fast-Track Authority for Trade Agreements): Background and Developments in the 107th Congress

One of the major trade issues in the 107th Congress (2001-2002) was whether Congress would approve trade promotion authority (TPA; formerly called fast-track authority) for trade agreements. Under these provisions, Congress agrees to consider legislation to implement a trade agreement under special legislative procedures that limit debate and allow no amendment. The President is required to consult with congressional committees during negotiation and notify Congress at major stages. This report gives background on the origin of TPA/fast-track legislation, trade agreements negotiated...

Australian-U.S. Economic Relations

Australia and the United States maintain extensive economic relations. Each is a strong proponent of more liberalized trade in the World Trade Organization. Australia, like the U.S., maintains relatively few trade barriers. U.S.-Australian economic ties have expanded steadily over the past several years, although some trade disputes have arisen, especially in regard to agriculture issues. In 2002, the two nations agreed to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement, which, if achieved, could further boost bilateral economic ties. This report will be updated as events warrant.

Trade and the 108th Congress: Major Legislative and Oversight Initiatives

Trade will continue to be an active topic for the 108th Congress. However, with the passage of the Trade Act of 2002, it is not expected that the 108th Congress will consider comprehensive legislation that might alter the basic foundation of U.S. trade statutes. Nevertheless, several legislative initiatives and active oversight of a growing number of specific issues can be expected. Legislatively, the Bush Administration later this year is expected to ask Congress to approve free trade agreements (FTAs) it has concluded with Chile and Singapore. If the Administration this year or early...

Export-Import Bank: Background and Legislative Issues

This report discusses the Export-Import Bank (Ex-In Bank), the chief U.S. government agency that helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services with the objective of contributing to the employment of U.S. workers.

The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established on January 1, 1995,

under an agreement reached during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Uruguay Round was the last of a series of periodic trade negotiations held under the auspices of the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Among the questions asked during debate on U.S. trade policy and the WTO are: To what extent should the United States meet its trade goals in theWTO versus other options? Can the United States maintain its sovereignty as a member of the WTO? Are U.S. interests...

Managing International Financial Crises: Alternatives to "Bailouts," Hardships and Contagion

Since 1995, a number of measures have been adopted to help prevent future international financial crises. Similar progress, however, has not been made in the management of such crises. Currently there is no clear alternative to large loans (often called bailouts) by the IMF or letting the debtor country fend for itself (which may lead to severe recession in the debtor country and/or the spread of the crisis to other countries). Two recent proposals -- one by Anne Krueger of the IMF and the other by John Taylor of the U.S. Treasury - aim to resolve this dilemma by establishing a...

Singapore-U.S. Free Trade Agreement

Ergonomics in the Workplace: Is It Time for an OSHA Standard?

Improper ergonomic design of jobs is one of the leading causes of work-related illness, accounting for perhaps a third of employers’ costs under state workers’ compensation laws. Due to the wide variety of circumstances, however, any comprehensive standard would probably have to be complex and costly, while scientific understanding of the problem is not complete.

Ergonomics in the Workplace: Is It Time for an OSHA Standard?

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade: Key Issues for the 108th Congress

The 108th Congress will be faced early on with a number of pressing foreign affairs, defense, and trade issues. This report provides background information on the issues most likely to be taken up in the first session, analyzes the congressional role in shaping U.S. policy on these key issues, and lists CRS products that provide more detailed discussion and analysis. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon dramatically altered the U.S. political environment, pushing issues of war and homeland security to the top of the policy agenda. Of particular concern to...

The Export Administration Act: Controversy and Prospects

The 108th Congress again is expected to consider legislation to rewrite or to reauthorize the Export Administration Act (EAA). In the 107th Congress, the Export Administration Act of 2001 (S. 149) was introduced on January 23, 2001. The Senate passed S. 149 on September 6, 2001 by a vote of 85-14. A companion version in the House, H.R. 2581, was introduced by Rep. Gilman on July 20, 2001. The House International Relations Committee reported the measure with 35 amendments on August 1. The House Armed Services Committee further amended H.R. 2581 and reported out the bill on March 6, 2002....

New IMF Conditionality Guidelines

Japan's Economic and Security Challenges

This report provides a snapshot of U.S.-Japan relations, current economic and security challenges facing Japan, and policies being adopted or considered to deal with them. The information was gathered primarily during a trip to Japan in February 2002 and augmented by subsequent research. Japan's economy is beginning to recover from its third recession over the past twelve years. This "lost decade of the 1990s" and slow growth means that Japanese gross domestic product is as much as $1.3 trillion dollars (equivalent to Brazil's GDP) below what it could have been if it had continued to...

Steel: Key Issues for Congress

The Economic Effects of 9/11: A Retrospective Assessment

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 was so sudden and devastating that it may be difficult at this point in time to write dispassionately and objectively about its effects on the U.S. economy. This retrospective review will attempt such an undertaking. The loss of lives and property was not large enough to have had a measurable effect on the productive capacity of the United States even though it had a very significant localized effect on New York City and, to a lesser degree, on the greater Washington, D.C. area. Thus, for the tragedy to affect the economy it would have had to have affected...

U.S.-EU Trade Tensions: Causes, Consequences, and Possible Cures

The United States and the European Union (EU) share a large and mutually beneficial trade and investment relationship. Given a huge volume of commercial interactions, trade tensions and disputes are not unexpected. In the past, periodic episodes of rising trade tensions and even threats of a trade war have been followed by successful efforts at dispute settlement. This ebb and flow of trade tensions has occurred again this year with highly publicized disputes involving steel and tax breaks for U.S. exporters. Both disputes have been characterized by mutual feelings that the other side has...

The Vietnam-U.S. Bilateral Trade Agreement

On July 13, 2000, U.S. and Vietnamese negotiators signed a sweeping bilateral trade agreement (BTA). Following affirmative votes in Congress and the Vietnamese National Assembly, the BTA entered in into force on December 10, 2001, when the two countries formally exchanged letters implementing the agreement. Under the deal, the U.S. will extend temporary most-favored nation (MFN, also known as normal trade relations [NTR] status) status to Vietnam, a step that will significantly reduce U.S. tariffs on most imports from Vietnam. The World Bank has estimated that Vietnam's exports to the...

Textile and Apparel Trade Issues

Trade Legislation in the 107th Congress: An Overview

Status of Trade Legislation in the 107th Congress

NAFTA: Economic Effects on the United States After Eight Years

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Canada and Mexico went into effect on January 1, 1994. It is the first trade agreement the United States has entered into with a geographically-close developing country and has raised concerns about its economic effect, particularly on U.S. communities and workers. Since the mid-1980s, when Mexico began reducing trade restrictions, the U.S. and Mexican economies have become more highly integrated. This is evidenced by the rapid growth in U.S. merchandise trade with Mexico, which is now 12% of all U.S. trade (up...

Steel: Legacy Cost Issue

Generalized System of Preferences

Trade Promotion (Fast-Track) Authority: A Comparison of Bills Approved by the House and by the Senate with Notes on the Conference Report (H.R. 3009)

On July 27, 2002, the House passed (215-212) the conference report on H.R. 3009 ( H.Rept. 107-624 ), which contains, among other things, authorization of presidential trade promotion authority (TPA) . The Senate is expected to vote on the report during the week of July 29. Under TPA, the President can negotiate trade agreements that would be considered by the Congress under expedited legislative procedures that limit debate and permit no amendments. The conference report resulted from negotiations by Senate and House conferees over similar but different versions of the TPA...

Terrorism: The New Occupational Hazard

The Andean Trade Preference Act: A Comparison of House and Senate Versions of H.R. 3009

In 1991, the 102nd Congress passed the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA), which provided for preferential treatment of selected U.S. imports from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru as part of an incentive system to encourage legal trade as an alternative to illicit drug production. ATPA expired in December 2001 and reauthorization legislation is being considered in the 107th Congress. This report compares two versions of H.R. 3009 , the House-passed Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act and the Andean Trade Preference Expansion Act , which was passed by the Senate as...

Cuba: An Economic Primer

This report provides an overview of the Cuban economy. Recent congressional interest in Cuba has centered on the partial lifting of trade sanctions on agricultural products and medicine. The 107th Congress may consider further easing of sanctions or other alterations to the trade embargo in effect since 1962. The paper first presents a brief historical overview of the Cuban economy. This history is characterized by dependence on major powers: first Spain, then the United States, and then the Soviet Union. The report then charts the different, and often conflicting, economic policy courses...

The Black Lung Benefits Program

Steel Industry and Trade Issues

China's Banking Reforms: Background and Issues for Congress

The Peoples Republic of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) will require that it open its financial services sector to foreign investment and international competition. In preparation for a more market-based banking system, China has announced reforms intended to strengthen its banks and American investors have been buying portfolios of Chinese non-performing loans. The international community has a stake in Chinese financial reform primarily for three reasons. The first is to prevent contagion -- to keep a failure of Chinese banks from touching off global financial...

Export Administration Act of 2001: Side-by-Side of S. 149 and H.R. 2581

This report compares the major provisions of the Export Administration Act of 2001 (EAA); S. 149 as passed by the Senate, H.R. 2581 as amended by the House International Relations Committee, and H.R. 2581 as further amended by the House Armed Services Committee. These bills reauthorize and revamp the primary authority for controlling exports and technologies for reasons of foreign policy and national security. The Export Administration Act of 2001 was introduced in the Senate as S. 149 on January 23, 2001, by Senator Michael P. Enzi. The bill was reported out by the Senate Banking,...

The Argentine Financial Crisis: A Chronology of Events

Argentina’s current crisis resulted from a confluence of events, some external to Argentina’s policy process, others directly related to its political and economic choices. The following is a summary of these events from before Argentina’s adoption of the currency board in 1991 to developments in early 2002.

The WTO Doha Ministerial: Results and Agenda for a New Round of Negotiations

Trade ministers from the 142 member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) met in Doha, Qatar from November 9-14, 2001. At the end of their meeting, they issued a ministerial declaration, along with two statements on developing country concerns, that establish an agenda for a new round trade negotiations. This agenda has significant implications for Congress. Most of the agreements reached during the round will require congressional approval before they can be implemented by the United States. More immediately, however, the Doha results provide a framework for the congressional...

China-U.S. Aircraft Collision Incident of April 2001: Assessments and Policy Implications

The serious incident of April 2001 between the United States and the People's Republic of China (PRC) involved a collision over the South China Sea between a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane and a People's Liberation Army (PLA) naval F-8 fighter that crashed. After surviving the near-fatal accident, the U.S. crew made an emergency landing of their damaged plane onto the PLA's Lingshui airfield on Hainan Island, and the PRC detained the 24 crew members for 11 days. Washington and Beijing disagreed over the cause of the accident, the release of the crew and plane, whether Washington...

Japan's "Economic Miracle": What Happened?

What happened to Japan's "economic miracle?" Since the 1990s, Japan has been experiencing slow economic growth, income contraction, and recession along with high unemployment and other problems. These trends since the 1990s compare starkly with the 1970s and 1980s, when Japan's rapid economic growth and development drew admiration from much of the world, including many in the United States, and thrust Japan into the elite club of major industrialized countries. Japan even became established in the minds of some as a model for economic growth and development for other economies to follow,...

Japan's Banking "Crisis"

The Japanese economy is burdened by an overhang of nonperforming bank loans that are officially recognized to total $367.5 billion but could exceed a trillion dollars if all problem loans are taken into account and economic conditions worsen significantly. These bad loans have weakened Japan's already sluggish economy, undermined the strength of the yen, and are exacerbating the slowdown in Asia's economies. In recent years, Japan has averted a replay of the crisis conditions that accompanied earlier failures of financial institutions, but the problem is immense, and restoring health to...

U.S. Trade in Financial Services: An Overview

Financial services -- banking, securities, and insurance -- are a key element of the U.S. economy. With international trade in services generally rising, financial services have become a critical element of new and proposed multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements, as well as a source of some disputes with major trading partners. Congress not only oversees this critical industry, but it also has very substantial responsibilities with regard to U.S. trade, trade policy, and trade agreements, of which financial services are today an important part. U.S. policy has been to...

The Growth of the Private Sector in China and Implications For China's Accession to the World Trade Organization

Over the past 21 years, economic reforms have transformed China from a relatively inefficient, centrally planned, economy to one that is significantly more market-oriented. The gains in efficiency resulting from free market policies have helped make China one of the world's fastest growing economies in recent years. A key policy in China's economic success has been the decentralization of economic production, which has helped produce a thriving private sector in China. Prior to 1979, Chinese government policies eliminated most private enterprises. However, over time, the central...

Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Policy: Key Issues in the 107th Congress

Among the 107th Congress' first orders of business will be dealing with the initiatives--both domestic and foreign policy--proposed by President Bush throughout his presidential campaign. The 2000 congressional campaigns suggested that the agenda of the 107th Congress will be largely domestic: Social Security, health care, education, taxes, and military pay were prominent in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, many issues discussed in this report will be affected by the resolution of a contentious battle for the presidency. In the Congress, the 50-50...

China-U.S. Trade Agreements: Compliance Issues

On November 15, 1999, the United States and China completed a bilateral agreement on China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). China agreed to substantially liberalize its markets for U.S. agriculture, manufactured goods, and services. In addition China has completed bilateral trade agreements with 35 other WTO members (an agreement with Mexico is still pending) and is close to completing negotiations with the WTO Working Party handling its WTO application. Once China completes all of its bilateral and multilateral agreements, it will likely join the WTO soon after, and the...

China's Emergence as a Major Economic Power: Implications for U.S. Interests

China's likely development as a major economic power over the next quarter century holds important implications for U.S. interests. Assuming a continuation of current trends, by 2025 China is likely to become a medium income economy with an estimated $3.5 trillion to $5.8 trillion gross domestic product and a 1.5 billion population. An optimistic view of China in 2025 is for it to be well integrated into the world economy with global standards for trade, investments, finance, labor, and the environment and with a booming investment and trading relationship with the United States conducted...

Section 301 of The Trade Act of 1974, As Amended: Its Operation and Issues Involving its Use by the United States

Sections 301 through 309 of the Trade Act of 1974 (as amended), commonly referred to as Section 301 , are one of the principal means by which the United States seeks to address "unfair" foreign barriers to U.S. exports and enforce U.S. rights under trade agreements. U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) has raised congressional concern over the ability of the United States to effectively use its trade laws to combat unfair foreign trade practices. This report describes the Section 301 process (including the related Special 301 and Super 301 processes) and...

Japan's Telecommunications Deregulation: NTT's Access Fees and Worldwide Expansion

In July 2000, the United States and Japan reach a negotiated settlement on Japan's costly rates for telecommunications companies to hook into the telephone network owned by the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Company (NTT), Japan's dominant provider of telecom services. Japan agreed that NTT would lower its rates for regional access by 50% and local access by 20% over two years. NTT also is attempting to acquire Verio, an Internet service provider in the United States.

Thailand: Relations with the U.S., Economic Recovery, and Problems with Burma -- A Research Trip Report

This report summarizes information and observations from a research trip to Thailand conducted May 27-June 5, 2000, with supplementary material from other sources. This report provides an overview of Thailand's relations with the United States, recovery from the financial crisis, and problems with Burma (Myanmar) centered on illegal drug trafficking and refugees. Thailand is of interest to the United States at this time because its apparent economic recovery can be a bellwether for the region and the country is facing a threat to its national security from the narcotics trade and refugees...

Brazil's Economic Reform and the Global Financial Crisis

Despite backing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), capital flight from Brazil in 1998 prompted the government to jettison its pegged currency stabilization program and float the real on January 15, 1999, becoming another casualty of the volatile international capital markets. Brazil adjusted to its financial crisis faster than expected, which is now considered over. This report provides a final summary of Brazil's financial crisis and related IMF assistance in support of congressional interest in various aspects of the 1990s global financial turmoil. It will not be updated.

Japan's Landmark Financial Deregulation: What It Means for the United States

Major financial deregulation is underway in Japan that could have far-reaching implications for U.S.-Japan economic relations. The process has been accelerating since the so-called "Big Bang" announcement by former Prime Minister Hashimoto in November 1996 calling for the realignment of Japan's financial markets to make them comparable to those of Europe and the United States. The reform process includes allowing financial institutions to establish holding companies and enter heretofore prohibited lines of business. It also is expected to open markets to more foreign participation. Along...

The International Monetary Fund: An Overview of Its Mission and Operations

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the institution designed to support global trade and economic growth by helping maintain stability in the international financial system. Originally created to finance short-term balance of payments deficits during the Bretton Woods era of gold/dollar fixed exchange rates (1944-1971), in the current world where flexible exchange rates dominate in the industrial economies, it has focused on developing countries where ever larger financial crises have erupted. As part of the periodic IMF quota review process, the U.S. Congress in October 1998...

Russian Capital Flight, Economic Reforms, and U.S. Interests: An Analysis

Russian capital flight is a longstanding problem with very negative consequences for the Russian economy. Authoritative studies estimate Russian capital flight to have totaled $150 billion from 1992-1999. Recent reports of Russian money laundering and other financial scandals involving the Russian Central Bank, the Bank of New York, other commercial banks, and even former President Yeltsin's household involve forms of capital flight and have drawn greater attention to the problem. They have been the subjects of recent Congressional hearings and have focused the attention of Members of...

The Rising U.S. Trade Deficit With Japan: Overview and Policy Options

The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with Japan reached $73.9 billion in 1999. It is the largest bilateral deficit with any U.S. trading partner. In addition to the growing deficit in goods trade (with almost all accounted for by trade in machinery and transportation equipment), the bilateral deficit in investment income also has become unusually large so large that it outweighs the U.S. surplus in services trade with Japan. As a result, the bilateral current account deficit $75 billion in 1998 exceeds the merchandise trade deficit with Japan. Options for dealing with this deficit include...

Debt and Development in Poor Countries: Rethinking Policy Responses

The poorest countries face enormous challenges to development, with economic issues still presenting some of the greatest obstacles. High on the current public policy agenda, including in the U.S. Congress, is financing increased debt relief for the poorest countries. Indebtedness is not a new issue. In the 1980s, Latin American middle income countries became severely indebted to private banks, causing a financial crisis with prolonged economic and social consequences. Today, the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs), mostly located in Sub-Saharan Africa, face worse economic prospects...

Ecuador's Brady Bond Default: Background and Implications

Ecuador faces its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, suffering from a deep recession, collapsed currency, and failing banking system. Together, these problems led to huge fiscal deficits and increased external borrowing. The fiscal shortfall took a dramatic turn on September 30, 1999 when Ecuador decided to default on its Brady bonds, effectively cutting off Ecuador from foreign financial resources. This proved to be a pivotal decision, contributing to the escalating social and political strife that resulted in the forced removal of a sitting president in January 2000. Brady bonds...

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Seattle Ministerial Conference

On November 30th to December 3rd, the highest decision-making body of the World Trade Organization (WTO), called the Ministerial Conference, will meet in Seattle to make broad policy decisions. The key issue for the trade ministers attending the meeting will be to decide on the structure and topics for the agenda of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. The new round will begin after the Ministerial and might continue for three years. Countries have committed to discuss agriculture and services trade in the new round. Other items that have been proposed for inclusion in the new...

CBI/NAFTA Parity Proposals: A Comparison

The tariff and quota treatment of U.S. imports from Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement has resulted in a distinct and increasing competitive disadvantage for imports from the beneficiary countries of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). To eliminate this disadvantage, proposals have been made to extend to imports from Caribbean Basin countries preferential treatment equivalent to that accorded imports of identical goods from Mexico. This report compares the provisions of four such proposals: Title I of H.R. 984 , Title I of S. 371 , H.R. 1834 , and S....

The Exchange Stabilization Fund of the U.S. Treasury Department: Purpose, History, and Legislative Activity

As part of an international support package, the United States agreed, in November 1998, to provide contingent financing of $5 billion to Brazil. Funds would come from the Department of the Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF). Some congressional concern has been expressed about the ESF's ability to make foreign loans without congressional approval. Appropriation legislation in the 104th Congress imposed limitations on the use of the ESF ( P.L. 104-52 , Section 632 and P.L. 104-208 , Section 628), but the limitations expired at the end of fiscal year 1997. Seven bills were...

The World Trade Organization: Future Negotiations

The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Ministerial Conference, to be held in Seattle from November 30 to December 3, 1999, will launch a new round of trade negotiations. President Clinton, in his State of the Union Address on January 19, 1999, called for an ambitious round focusing on agriculture, services, industrial tariffs, intellectual property, and government procurement. He also proposed that negotiations should result in early agreements, and should be concluded in far less time than the seven years that the Uruguay Round took. The United States and the other WTO countries are...

Turkey: Continuity and Change after Elections

The April 18, 1999 election in Turkey reflected growing nationalism, a weakening of the political center, and a desire for more honest leadership. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit of the Democratic-Left Party (DSP) is continuing in office, joined by the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and Motherland Party (ANAP). Ecevit and ANAP leader Mesut Yilmaz have prior government experience. MHP's Devlet Bahceli does not, and his purported success in moderating the ultra-right MHP is being tested. DSP and ANAP control ministries of foreign and macroeconomic policy significance, while MHP holds...

The U.S. Trade Deficit: Trends, Theory, Policy, and Sustainability

This report briefly surveys recent trends in the U.S. trade deficit and the economic theory and policies surrounding it. After dropping to $74 billion in 1991, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit increased by $49 billion in 1998 to a record high of $248 billion. Even though the reasons for the rising deficit seem apparent, it raises questions about the theoretical analysis that underlies U.S. policies to deal with it and its sustainability and effect on the U.S. economy. The Federal Trade Deficit Review Commission was organized on June 10, 1999, and is responsible for developing trade...

NAFTA: Economic Effects on the United States After Five Years

The main economic benefit of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is that, over time, it is expected to increase productivity and incomes in the United States, Mexico and Canada. In the near term, some reallocation of resources occurs within each country, generating gains for some producers and workers and costs for others. Since the Mexican and Canadian economies are small relative to the U.S. economy, both the long-term benefits and short-term adjustment costs of the NAFTA to the United States are expected to be small. The data suggest that NAFTA has had a positive, but...

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Reform: Past Solutions, Current Proposals

Major changes in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the international monetary system have been reflected in amendments to the IMF's Articles of Agreement, its "constitution." Changes to the IMF's Articles require an 85% majority of the voting power, giving the United States, with 17.56% of the vote, a veto. Under the Bretton Woods Agreement Act (P. L. 79-171, 22 U.S.C. 286), any proposed changes to the IMF's Articles require congressional approval. Thus, by extension, the U.S. Congress has a veto power over changes to the IMF's Articles. Beyond the specific issues of amending the...

Trade and International Competition Policy

International competition policy is aimed at prohibiting private activities that restrict or distort competition particulary as they affect trade. It is both a process of harmonizing national competition policies and a goal of negotiating a multinational agreement on antitrust policy. Although every industrialized nation has national antitrust and competition laws, there is no consensus on the need for, shape of, or reach of an international competition policy. The World Trade Organization is exploring the possibility of including competition policy in its negotiating agenda....

Fast-Track Legislative Procedures for Trade Agreements: The Great Debate of 1991

The last debate on whether or not to grant the President authority to negotiate trade agreements with "fast-track" legislative procedures was in 1991. Many issues that were raised in that debate are the same as those still being considered, including the role of labor and the environment in trade negotiations and whether legislation to implement trade agreements should be amendable. The result of the debate in 1991 was that Congress allowed the President an extension of negotiating authority with fast-track legislative procedures. At the same time, however, it gave strong directives to...

China's Response to the Global Financial Crisis: Implications for U.S. Economic Interests

Since 1997, several East Asian economies (notably Indonesia, Thailand, and South Korea), and since 1998, Russia and Brazil, have experienced significant financial difficulties, including sharp currency depreciations, plunging stock market prices, and declining economic growth. The global financial crisis contributed to a slowdown in the growth of the Chinese economy in 1998, especially its export sector, although it fared better than most of its East Asian neighbors, many of whom fell into recession. However, many analysts have expressed concern that a deepening of the global...

The Russian Financial Crisis of 1998: An Analysis of Trends, Causes, and Implications

Since May of 1998, Russia has been caught in the latest, and likely the most serious, in a series of economic crises. The crisis came to a head on August 17, 1998, when the government of then- Premier Sergei Kiriyenko abandoned its defense of a strong ruble exchange rate against the dollar, defaulted on government domestic debt forcing its restructuring, and placed a 90-day moratorium on commercial external debt payments. Those actions led to Yeltsin's dismissal of Kiriyenko on August 23, replaced, after a political standoff with the Duma, by a more leftward-leaning government led by...

Foreign and Defense Policy: Key Issues in the 106th Congress

When the 106th Congress comes to work in January, its first order of business will be to deal with the impeachment of the President of the United States. The 1998 congressional campaigns and elections suggested that the agenda of the 106th Congress also will be largely domestic in its focus: Social Security, health care, and education were the order of the day in campaigns across America and on post-election news programs. Indeed, of the issues discussed in this report, only increased defense spending to address military readiness and retention of trained military personnel has been...

The Asian (Global?) Financial Crisis, the IMF, and Japan: Economic Issues

The Asian financial crisis involves four basic problems or issues: (1) the role, operations, and replenishment of funds of the International Monetary Fund, (2) a shortage of foreign exchange in Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and other Asian countries that has caused the value of currencies and equities to fall dramatically, (3) inadequately developed financial sectors and mechanisms for allocating capital in the troubled Asian economies, and (4) effects of the crisis on both the United States and the world. In 1998, the crisis that had been confined primarily to Asia appeared to...

Trade with Developing Countries: Effects on U.S. Workers

Growth in U.S. trade with developing countries is one of the more troubling "globalization" issues and has been part of the debate over passage of fast-track authority, extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Africa trade bill. A central concern for many is whether this trade relationship leads to lost jobs or reduced wages for the U.S. labor force, particularly unskilled workers. Over the past three decades, U.S. trade with developing countries has expanded markedly. From 1987 to 1997, developing-country trade rose 195% (compared to 104% for trade...

The IMF's Proposed New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB): An Overview

In the wake of the Mexican financial crisis, the major industrial countries agreed, at the Halifax economic summit of June 15-16, 1995, to establish an "emergency financing mechanism." This goal would be achieved by the proposed establishment of the "New Arrangements to Borrow" (NAB), adopted by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Executive Board on January 27, 1997. The proposed NAB are medium-term lines of credit that will provide funds to the IMF to enable it to "forestall or cope with an impairment of the international monetary system, or to deal with an exceptional situation that...

The OECD Shipbuilding Agreement and Legislation in the 105th Congress

In December 1994, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Korea, and Norway signed an agreement on shipbuilding that was negotiated under the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The agreement prohibits most subsidies for shipbuilding, limits financing assistance, allows actions against injurious pricing, and establishes a dispute resolution process. Although the United States was the lead proponent of the agreement, it is the only signatory that has not ratified the agreement. U.S. maritime industries are split. The largest shipyards oppose the agreement...

Copyright Term Extension: Estimating the Economic Values

This report considers proposals to extend the duration of copyrights by 20 years (as in H.R. 2589 and other bills) and related proposals to charge a fee to the owners in order to receive the extension. The method of analysis is economic rather than legal. The report reviews the basic economic principals involved in copyright law and gives rough estimates of the value of copyrights on books, music, and movies produced in the 1920s and 1930s — those that would be most immediately affected by an extension of copyright terms.

Copyright Term Extension: Estimating the Economic Values

This report considers proposals to extend the duration of copyrights by 20 years (as in H.R. 2589 and other bills) and related proposals to charge a fee to the owners in order to receive the extension. The method of analysis is economic rather than legal. The report reviews the basic economic principals involved in copyright law and gives rough estimates of the value of copyrights on books, music, and movies produced in the 1920s and 1930s — those that would be most immediately affected by an extension of copyright terms.

The Kodak-Fuji Film Case at the WTO and the Openness of Japan's Film Market

On March 31, 1998, the World Trade Organization released a decision in a U.S.-initiated dispute involving access by Kodak to the photographic film and paper market in Japan. The WTO panel decided against the United States, but it did not address the more general question of market barriers in Japan. In the process of arguing its position at the WTO, Japan made representations that its market for photographic film and paper is open. Rather than appeal the case, one U.S. strategy is to hold Japan to its representations about the openness of its markets. In the 105th Congress, S.Con.Res. 88 ...

International Monetary Fund (IMF): Costs and Benefits of U.S. Participation

This report examines U.S. costs of participating in the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Under conventions governing U.S. budgetary treatment of the IMF, any expenditures (outlays) arising from transactions with the IMF are offset by the increase in the U.S. reserve position in the IMF and, thus, have no net impact on the budget. Nevertheless, funds for the IMF are both authorized and appropriated. Expenditures in connection with U.S. participation in the Fund, however, do give rise to three other types of financial flows that enter the budget: an increase or decrease in the...

Maquiladoras and NAFTA: The Economics of U.S.-Mexico Production Sharing and Trade

Debate continues over the benefits of U.S. trade with Mexico, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and particularly maquiladoras, or cross-border production sharing plants. Maquiladoras generate a large portion of U.S.-Mexico trade, yet the economic effects are not widely understood. Many believe there is no benefit to such trade because it leads to the loss of U.S. jobs, production, and wages. Maquiladora products, however, have a high U.S. content that in addition to fostering productivity gains in both countries, may actually minimize the loss of U.S. jobs by allowing the...

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Proposed Quota Increase: Issues for Congress

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the international lender-of-last-resort. Each of the 182 members of the IMF have a "quota," which broadly reflects the size of its economy and its relative position in the world economy. Among other things, quotas determine the size of a country's contribution to the IMF's capital. Thus, they provide the funds out of which the IMF makes its loans. Under the IMF's Articles of Agreement, a general review of the adequacy of the IMF's quota resources must be conducted at least every five years. The Eleventh General Quota Review has just been...

APEC and the 1997 Summit in Vancouver

This report discusses the November 25, 1997 summit held by leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. The purpose of the summit was to further pursue the APEC agenda of endorsing a framework developed by APEC leaders' finance ministers to promote financial stability in the Asia-Pacific region and to supplement resources by the International Monetary Fund when necessary.

APEC and the 1997 Summit in Vancouver

Fast Track for Trade Agreements: Procedural Controls for Congress and Proposed Alternatives

This report discusses the fast track trade procedures in the Trade Act of 1974 operate as procedural rules of the House and Senate, and the statute itself declares them to be enacted as an exercise of the constitutional authority of each house to determine its own rules. These procedures prevent Congress from altering an implementing bill or declining to act, but permit it to enact or reject the bill. By these means Congress retains authority to legislate in the areas covered, yet affords the President conditions for effective negotiation.

China's Economic Development: An Overview

Since the initiation of economic and trade reforms in 1978, China has been one of the world's fastest growing economies. According to Chinese data, real GDP grew at an average annual rate of 10% between 1979 and 1996, increasing the real size of the Chinese economy by five times its 1978 level and substantially raising Chinese living standards. Much of China's recent economic growth has been driven by a high rate of capital accumulation and large productivity gains, both largely the result of economic reforms. Foreign investment and trade have played a major role in China's economic...

NAFTA, Mexican Trade Policy, and U.S.-Mexico Trade: A Longer Term Perspective

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been in place for over three years, and Congress continues to evaluate it as part of the trade policy process. "Free trade" is a contentious debate and has become even more complicated in the NAFTA context because of Mexico's 1995 economic crisis. Many critics consider the sudden shift from surplus to deficit in the U.S. trade balance with Mexico a clear indication of NAFTA's failure. Others see NAFTA as a positive force supporting U.S. exports. To sort out the effects of trade agreements, this report evaluates the U.S.- Mexico trade...

The IMF's "General Arrangements to Borrow" (GAB): A Background Paper

In the wake of the Mexican financial crisis, the G-7 industrial countries (1) agreed, at the Halifax economic summit of June 15-16, 1995, to establish an "emergency financing mechanism." This proposal has ultimately evolved into the so-called "New Arrangements to Borrow" (NAB). (2) The NAB, however, parallels and complements the GAB, which were established in 1962. While the proposed NAB would become the facility of first recourse, the GAB remain in existence and are still available to be drawn upon. More importantly, the SDR 17.0 billion (3) in existing financial commitments to the...

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Gold Auctions: Current Proposal, History, and Congressional Role

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is proposing to sell 5 million ounces of gold, equal to a little less than 5% of its total gold holdings and, at current market prices, worth about $1.9 billion. Profits from the gold sale would be used to provide debt relief to poor countries. Although the IMF now has sufficient votes to adopt the proposal, the opposition of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy has resulted in an indefinite delay. Gold sales held by the IMF between 1976 and 1980 provided substantial profits -- $5.7 billion -- which were used to establish the IMF's Trust Fund, which was...

Legislative Procedure for Disapproving the Renewal of China's Most-Favored-Nation Status

The continuation in effect of China's most-favored-nation status with the United States is contingent principally on the maintenance in force of the waiver of full compliance with the requirements of the freedom-of-emigration ("Jackson-Vanik") amendment of the Trade Act of 1974. Waivers and their underlying authority must be extended annually. Such extensions are automatic upon presidential recommendation, to be made by June 3, unless they are disapproved by a joint resolution of Congress. Such resolutions are enacted -- should the Congress wish to do so -- under specific...

NAFTA and U.S.-Mexico Cattle Trade

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in January 1994. Thus far, no clear pattern has emerged regarding U.S.-Mexico cattle trade: in the first year the U.S. trade deficit in cattle fell, but in the second year that deficit reached a record level. While some U.S. cattle producers blamed NAFTA for the record deficit, the underlying causes were devaluation of the peso, Mexico's economic contraction, and drought in northern Mexico. Lower U.S. cattle prices, which some also contend were the result of NAFTA, were the result of several factors including high grain prices...

Services Trade and the Uruguay Round: An Issue Overview

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which went into effect on January 1, 1995, is a significant achievement, but only a first step on the road to liberalization of services barriers. For the first time, legally enforceable multilateral rules and principles for services trade are part of the international trading system. At the same time, the immediate elimination or reduction of barriers to services transactions was much less than desired by many. The GATS, however, includes provisions for future negotiations to liberalize trade. The Congress will have an important...

The GATT and the WTO: An Overview

Under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), eight rounds of trade negotiations lowered tariffs of developed countries to an average 3.9 percent. New areas, such as services, intellectual property rights, agriculture, and textiles and apparel, were brought under the discipline of the GATT for the first time in the Uruguay Round. The World Trade Organization (WTO), a permanent entity agreed on during the Uruguay Round, went into effect January 1, 1995. Multilateral trade issues for the future include continuing services negotiations, the relationship of...

Russia and the IMF : Coming to Terms

Finance and Adjustment: The International Debt Crisis, 1982-84

This report provides an overview of the international debt problem which has significantly disturbed the international economic environment of the 1980s. It describes the characteristics of the less developed country (LDC) debt and discusses the role of major participants in the debt crisis. The study shows how the role of the participants has evolved during the crisis. Lastly, some of the issues arising from the debt crisis are discussed.

Japan's International Trade Patterns, Institutions, and Policies

This report presents an overview of Japan's performance in its trading relations. The report begins with a discussion of the development, size, and importance of Japan's international trading sector. It then examines the composition, institutions, and policies for trade. This is followed by a review of Japan's balance of payments, capital flows, value of the yen, and direction of trade.

Mergers: Background and Current Issues

The Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act: Context and Content

Debate over natural gas pricing has included the consideration of a windfall profit tax, with the oil windfall profit tax as a possible guide to what might be levied on natural gas at the wellhead. This report reviews the issues surrounding the enactment of the crude oil windfall profit tax, spells out its provisions, and provides data on the revenues collected and anticipated.

China-U.S. Trade

The improved political relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), initiated by the Nixon Administration and furthered by the Carter Administration's decision to establish diplomatic relations, has spurred a rapid increase in Sino-U.S. trade. While still small relative to overall U.S. foreign trade, the volume of trade represents an abrupt shift from the no-trade policy that had been pursued since 1950. Despite the rapid expansion, outstanding issues remain as serious barriers to normalized trade. Resolution of those issues may require concession or...

Imported Automobiles in the United States: Their Rising Market Share and the Macroeconomic Impact of a Proposed Import Restriction

After two generations of almost unchallenged supremacy, the U.S. auto industry has recently faced plummeting sales, rising competition from imports, and mounting requirements for capital investment and structural change. This has resulted in massive spilling of red ink in the industry's profit and loss columns, further financial pressures on the ailing Chrysler Corporation, layoffs of nearly 250,000 workers (as of August 4, 1980 in the automotive industry alone according to the United Auto Workers Union) and soaring claims for unemployment compensation and trade adjustment...