Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

Trade Negotiations During the 109th Congress
This report discusses trade issues in the 109th Congress. For over 50 years, U.S. trade officials have negotiated multilateral trade agreements to achieve lower trade barriers and rules to cover international trade. During the 108th Congress, U.S. officials negotiated and Congress approved four bilateral free-trade agreements with Australia, Chile, Morocco, and Singapore.
United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR): U.S. Membership
This short report provides an overview of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR and Administration and Congressional responses to recent developments.
The Advanced Technology Program
This report presents perspectives on African economic trends and provides an overview of U.S. trade and investment flows with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It discusses the provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the changes that have occurred since its enactment. It concludes with a brief discussion of issues of congressional interest.
Border Security: Fences Along the U.S. International Border
This report outlines the issues involved with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) completion of the San Diego border fence and highlights some of the major legislative and administrative developments regarding the construction of new border fences.
Trade Negotiations During the 109th Congress
This report discusses trade issues in the 109th Congress. For over 50 years, U.S. trade officials have negotiated multilateral trade agreements to achieve lower trade barriers and rules to cover international trade. During the 108th Congress, U.S. officials negotiated and Congress approved four bilateral free-trade agreements with Australia, Chile, Morocco, and Singapore.
The Middle East Peace Talks
This report examines the current climate regarding peace talks in the Middle East. Congress is interested in the peace talks because of its oversight role in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, its support for Israel, and keen constituent interest. It is concerned about U.S. financial and other commitments and the Palestinians' fulfillment of their commitments to Israel.
Combating Terrorism: First Emergency Supplemental Appropriations - Distribution of Funds to Departments and Agencies
This report provides background on the 2001 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States, P.L. 107-38 (H.R. 2888) as well as the criteria for use of the funds developed by The Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It also outlines information about supplemental fund distributions in three tables.
Border Security: Key Agencies and Their Missions
This report serves as a primer on the key federal agencies charged with border security by briefly describing each agency's role in securing our nation's borders. The four main agencies are the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Balkan Cooperation on War Crimes Issues
This report provides background regarding the cooperation of Balkan countries regarding the arrest and transfer of indicted war criminals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. Full cooperation with ICTY has been established as a key prerequisite to further progress toward a shared long-term goal for the western Balkan countries: closer association with and eventual membership in the European Union (EU) and NATO.
East Timor: Potential Issues for Congress
This report discusses congressional concerns, which focus on security and the role of the United Nations (U.N.), human rights, and East Timor's boundary disputes with Australia and Indonesia. East Timor emerged in 2002 as an independent state after a long history of Portugese colonialism and later, Indonesian rule. Under several different mandates, the United Nations has provided peacekeeping, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, and capacity building to establish a functioning government. Many challenges remain, including the need for economic development and sustained support by the international community.
NAFTA at Ten: Lessons from Recent Studies
This report provides an analytical summary of the economic lessons reached in support of Congress's role in the trade policy process. On January 1, 2004, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) completed its tenth year and most of its provisions are now implemented. NAFTA is a free trade agreement (FTA) that effectively added Mexico to the U.S.-Canada FTA completed in 1989. Its anniversary has sparked numerous evaluations, which are particularly relevant as the United States pursues free trade agreements with multiple Latin American countries. Most studies found that NAFTA's effects on the U.S. and Mexican economies to be modest at most.
U.S.-EU Cooperation Against Terrorism
This report examines the evolution of counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and the European Union (EU), particularly since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It includes a discussion of U.S.-EU cooperation progress and ongoing challenges, as well as perspectives and issues for Congress.
Abu Sayyaf: Target of Philippine-U.S. Anti-Terrorism Cooperation
This report provides an overview and policy analysis of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines and the Philippine-U.S. program of military cooperation against it. It examines the origins and operations of Abu Sayyaf, the efforts of the Philippine government and military to eliminate it, and the implications of a greater U.S. military role in attempts to suppress it.
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses U.S. policy responses to the current political climate in Iran. Much of the debate over U.S. policy toward Iran has centered on the nature of the current regime; some believe that Iran, a country of almost 70 million people, is a threat to U.S. interests because hardliners in Iran’s regime dominate and set a policy direction intended to challenge U.S. influence and allies in the region.
Nonproliferation and Threat Reduction Assistance: U.S. Programs in the Former Soviet Union
This report summarizes many issues raised in Congressional debates on the future of U.S. nonproliferation and threat reduction assistance. However, it first reviews the history of these programs, describing their origins in 1991, their expansion and evolution during the 1990s, and the changes in their direction during the first two years of the Bush Administration. The report also provides a broad summary of many of the program areas and projects supported by U.S. funding.
North Korea: Economic Sanctions
U.S. economic sanctions are imposed against North Korea for five primary reasons: (1) North Korea is seen as posing a threat to U.S. national security; (2) North Korea is designated by the Secretary of State as a state sponsor or supporter of international terrorism; (3) North Korea is a Marxist-Leninist state, with a Communist government; (4) North Korea has been found by the State Department to have engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and (5) North Korea has been found by the President to have detonated a nuclear explosive device. This paper explains the U.S. economic sanctions currently in place, and summarizes recent events as they relate to the potential application of additional restrictions.
Organization of American States: A Primer
This report provides a background on the Organization of American States (OAS), which is an international organization based in Washington, D.C., comprised of 35 Western Hemisphere states. The OAS works to promote democracy, protect human rights, preserve security, expand trade, and address cross-cutting issues of hemispheric concern.
The United Kingdom: Issues for the United States
This report assesses the current state of U.S.-UK relations. It examines the pressures confronting London as it attempts to balance its interests between the United States and the EU, and the prospects for the future of the U.S.-UK partnership, especially in the unfolding Brown era. It also describes UK views on political, security, and economic issues of particular importance to the United States, and their implications for U.S. policy that may be of interest in the second session of the 110th Congress.
U.S. Embassy in Iraq
This report discusses issues with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq such as the potential rising cost, delay in opening, quality of construction, and reported assertions of trafficking-like labor practices by First Kuwaiti General Trade and Contracting Company, the primary builder of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.- Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt. U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation.
Kosovo and U.S. Policy: Background and Current Issues
This report provides background information about the war in Kosovo and discusses issues regarding Kosovo's future status and U. S. policy.
Nicaragua: Political Situation and U.S. Relations
This report provides background information and political situation of Nicaragua and its relations with United States.
World Heritage Convention and U.S. National Parks
This report describes the operation of the UNESCO Convention and will be updated periodically. The World Heritage Fund provides technical assistance to countries requesting help in protecting World Heritage sites.
Dominican Republic: Political and Economic Conditions and Relations with the United States
This report discusses the political and economic conditions in Dominican Republic and its relations with United States.
Sudan: Humanitarian Crisis, Peace Talks, Terrorism, and U.S. Policy
This report provides background and analysis on Sudan, and discusses the humanitarian crises, peace talks, terrorism and U.S. policy towards Sudan.
Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)
This report looks at the background and current status of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which was formed to increase international cooperation in interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Spain: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides information on Spain’s current political and economic situation, its struggle against Islamist terrorism, and its relations with the United States.
World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda
This report discusses the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, begun in November 2001, which has entered its 11th year. It includes background on Doha and the significance of the negotiations, as well as a breakdown of issues on the Doha agenda and the role of the Congress.
Caribbean Basin Interim Trade Program: CBI/NAFTA Parity
To provide an idea of the nature and scope of changes in trade competitiveness between the CBERA countries and Mexico that have resulted from the implementation of the NAFTA, this report describes the relevant preferential or special tariff treatments, as applicable. The aspects of trade policy that apply generally to all (or most) U.S. trading partners (e.g., most-favored-nation/normal-trade-relations status, or production-sharing provisions) are not included in any detail.
Pakistan: Chronology of Recent Events
This report describes the social and political situation in Pakistan. The report presents the important events in chronological order.
Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
This report outlines the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and related legislation. The report discusses a comprehensive test ban treaty, which is the oldest item on the nuclear arms control agenda.
Arab League Boycott of Israel
This report briefly discusses the Arab League's boycott of Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods since Israel's founding in 1948, as well as U.S. efforts to end the boycott and prevent U.S. firms in participating in the boycott.
Pakistan-U.S. Relations
This report discusses U.S.-Pakistan relationship marked by periods of both cooperation and discord, which was transformed by the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States into the enlistment of Pakistan as a key ally in U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts. This report outlines key aspects of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, as well as of Pakistan's economic conditions, political environment, handling of ongoing separatist violence, and nuclear nonproliferation.
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions.
Iraq-Kuwait: United Nations Security Council Resolutions Texts – 1992-2002
This report lists these 39 resolutions, provides the Security Council vote on each, and sets out the complete text of each resolution. In addition, a number of relevant U.N. documents are included. The texts of the 24 resolutions adopted in 1990 and 1991 may be found in two CRS reports, 90-513 and 91-395.
The Changing U.S.-Japan Alliance: Implications for U.S. Interests
This report examines policy changes that have driven actual and proposed shifts in the alliance between the U.S. and Japan. Key features of the proposals include a reduction in the number of U.S. Marines in Japan, the relocation of a controversial Marine air base in Okinawa, expanded cooperation in training and intelligence sharing, and command structure changes. The report concludes with a number of potential options for U.S. policymakers to protect U.S. security interests in the Asia Pacific. Those options include further bolstering Japan’s military, reducing the U.S military presence in the region, encouraging Japan to focus on international peacekeeping and reconstruction operations, developing trilateral defense cooperation, and creating a security forum in northeast Asia.
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur
This report discusses the crisis in Darfur, which began in February 2003, when two rebel groups emerged to challenge the National Islamic Front (NIF) government in DarfurThe report describes the mechanisms used to cleanse the area of non-Arabs by “total disengagement of administration and suspension of all government services.”
International Drug Control Policy
This report provides an overview of U.S. international drug control policy. It describes major international counternarcotics initiatives and evaluates the broad array of U.S. drug control policy tools currently in use. The report also considers alternative counterdrug policy approaches to current initiatives and raises several counterdrug policy issues and considerations for policy makers.
The Middle East Peace Talks
This report discusses the Middle East peace talks, including the new peace process with the most recent developments,and the war against terrorism.
The Growth of the Private Sector in China and Implications For China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization
This report discusses the growth of the private sector in China, which has occurred to a large extent from the government’s efforts to reform China’s money-losing state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Workers who have been laid off from SOEs have been encouraged to find jobs in the private sector or to start their own businesses.
U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application to Interrogation Techniques
This report discusses the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires signatory parties to take measures to end torture within their territorial jurisdiction and to criminalize all acts of torture.
Burma: Economic Sanctions
This report provides background information on existing economic sanctions against Burma and possible options to expand sanctions.
The Baltic States: U.S. Policy Concerns
This report provides background and analysis on the political and economic situations on Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia (commonly collectively referred to as the Baltic states), their foreign policies, and U.S. policy toward them.
The Middle East and North Africa: Political Succession and Regime Stability
This report discusses the political future of various countries in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region. A change in the leadership in these countries could significantly affect their policies toward the United States and their willingness to cooperate with the United States in achieving the stability needed to advance U.S. interests in this important region.
Selected International Depreciation Rates by Asset and Country
The depreciation provisions in the U.S. tax system are of recurring interest to Congress. More than 100 bills were introduced in the 109th Congress that addressed some aspect of depreciation. Concerns about the U.S. depreciation system tend to begin with the criticism that updates to the system have not kept pace with technological advancements of the assets for which it is utilized to account. This report provides information on the depreciation systems of selected European Union countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom) by presenting depreciation rates for buildings; computers; expensable assets; motor vehicles; patents; plant, equipment, machinery, and tools; and software.
Iraq: United Nations and Humanitarian Aid Organizations
This report provides an annotated list of U.N. agencies that are involved in Iraq, key U.S. government agencies, and a sample list of major international and U.S.-based aid organizations that are providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Internet links to the U.N. agencies and humanitarian aid organizations are also provided.
Anti-Terrorism Authority Under the Laws of the United Kingdom and the United States
This report is a comparison of the laws of the United Kingdom and of the United States that govern criminal and intelligence investigations of terrorist activities. Both systems rely upon a series of statutory authorizations: in the case of the United States primarily the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act; in the case of the United Kingdom, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, the Police Act, the Intelligence Services Act. Among other differences, the U.S. procedures rely more heavily upon judicial involvement and supervision, while those of the UK employ other safeguards. The UK procedures afford greater latitude to arrest, detain and supervise suspected terrorists than those available in the United States.
United Nations System Funding: Congressional Issues
This report tracks the process by which Congress provides the funding for U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budgets of the United Nations, its agencies, and U.N. peacekeeping operation accounts, as well for U.S. voluntary contributions to U.N. system programs and funds. It includes information on the President’s request and the congressional response, as well as congressional initiatives during this legislative process. Basic information is provided to help the reader understand this process.
U.S.- Thailand Free Trade Agreement Negotiations
This report examines Thailand’s economy and trade orientation, the scope and significance of the U.S.-Thai commercial relationship, and the likely top issues in the negotiations. The report concludes with a short summary of the Congressional role and interest in the FTA.
START II Debate in the Russian Duma: Issues and Prospects
The Russian Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament approved ratification of the START II Treaty on April 14, 2000, after 7 years of debate and dissension. (The United States Senate approved ratification of the treaty in January 1996.) This report describes key concerns raised by Members of the Duma during their discussions of START II. These include concerns with treaty provisions, such as its ban on multiple warhead ICBMs and its warhead "downloading" provisions, and concerns with Russia's ability to maintain and finance its strategic nuclear forces in the future.