Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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High Frequency Trading: Overview of Recent Developments
This report provides background on various High-frequency trading (HFT) strategies and some associated policy issues, recent regulatory developments and selected enforcement actions by the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), on HFT, and congressional action such as proposed legislation and hearings related to HFT.
U.S. Sugar Program Fundamentals
This report discusses the U.S. sugar program, which is singular among major agricultural commodity programs in that it combines a floor price guarantee with a supply management structure that encompasses both domestic production for human use and sugar imports.
U.S. Crude Oil Exports to International Destinations
This report discusses the export of crude oil produced in the United States and policy considerations in the wake of a provision contained in P.L. 114-113 which repealed a 40-year prohibition on the export.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) comprising nine members, two ex officio members, and other members as appointed by the President representing major departments and agencies within the federal executive branch. While the group generally has operated in relative obscurity, the proposed acquisition of commercial operations at six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World in 2006 placed the group's operations under intense scrutiny by Members of Congress and the public.
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 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes some of the key controversial issues of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including select market access issues (such as on dairy and other agricultural products, autos, and textiles and apparel) as well as the level of intellectual property protection, the scope and enforcement of environment and worker rights provisions, investor-state dispute settlement, access to government procurement, and the potential inclusion of provisions on currency valuation and exchange rates. The TPP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, which the Obama Administration casts as comprehensive, with economic and strategic significance for the United States.
Agricultural Export and Food Aid Programs
This report discusses projected agricultural imports and exports for FY2006, as well as legislation that deals with federal programs in support of agricultural exports and federal aid dedicated to farms and agricultural reform.
Overview of Labor Enforcement Issues in Free Trade Agreements
This report discusses free trade agreements (FTAs) that have enforceable labor provisions, grouped into four model types. It outlines the provisions for each and 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 relate to executive branch responsibilities, such as resource availability and determining dispute settlement case priorities. This report does not address other labor issues in the various free trade agreements, including cooperative consultation and capacity-building provisions.
Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses issues regarding Iran's political history and structure. It also takes a look at economic and defense policy responses for Congress, specifically focusing on Iran's nuclear capabilities.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Strategic Implications
This report discusses selected strategic arguments related to the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations. The potential impacts of the agreement may be an active area of debate during the second session of the 114th Congress.
Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process
This report reviews the process and procedures that currently apply to congressional consideration of foreign arms sales proposed by the President. This includes consideration of proposals to sell major defense equipment, defense articles and services, or the re-transfer to third party nations of such military items.
Space Launch Vehicles: Government Activities, Commercial Competition, and Satellite Exports
This report various sides of the debate related to domestic launch services, such as satellite export issues, the development of new launch vehicles by the private sector, and whether tax incentives or loan guarantees should be created for companies attempting to develop lower-cost launch vehicles.
Diamonds and Conflict: Background, Policy, and Legislation
This report discusses issues surrounding "conflict diamonds" -- i.e., diamonds that have been mined and sold to support armed conflict -- as well as resulting U.S. policy responses. Policy makers' attention has also increasingly focused on the possible role that diamonds may play in the financing of terrorist operations.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): In Brief
This report briefly summarizes some of the key provisions listed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that are seen as controversial. The TPP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among 12 Asia-Pacific countries, which the Obama Administration casts as comprehensive, with economic and strategic significance for the United States. These controversial issues include select market access (such as on dairy and other agricultural products, autos, and textiles and apparel) as well as the level of intellectual property protection, the scope and enforcement of environment and worker rights provisions, the treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), investor-state dispute settlement, access to government procurement, and the potential inclusion of provisions on currency valuation and exchange rates.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the kingdom of Saudi Arabia's relations with the United States; its stability, and its future trajectory are subjects of continuing congressional interest.
Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Negotiations: Overview and Issues for Congress
The purpose of the ongoing Trade in Services (TiSA) negotiations is to build on those rules by further increasing liberalization among the 23 negotiating parties, including the United States and European Union (EU), to open markets to foreign service providers and enhance rules governing services trade. This report provides a brief overview of U.S. trade in services, background on services in U.S. trade agreements, and an in-depth discussion of the ongoing TiSA negotiations.
Potential Challenges to U.S. Farm Subsidies in the WTO: A Brief Overview
This report examines U.S. commodity subsidy programs, which have changing criteria due to the expiration of the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) so-called "Peace Clause." This change appears to have made U.S. export and domestic support programs more vulnerable to legal challenge under WTO rules.
International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 114th Congress, 2nd Session
This report provides a brief overview of some of the trade and finance issues that may come before the second session of the 114th Congress.
Iran, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses issues regarding Iran's political history and structure. It also takes a look at economic and defense policy responses for Congress, specifically focusing on Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Free Trade Agreements: Impact on U.S. Trade and Implications for U.S. Trade Policy
This report provides background on Free Trade Areas (FTAs) including: definitions of Free Trade Areas, why countries form FTAs, FTAs in the context of U.S. trade policy, Bush Administration policies and recent developments, the economic impact of FTAs, whether FTAs create trade or divert it, FTAs the the WTO, debate points related to FTAs, relevant legislation, and final conclusions and implications for Congress.
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.
India-U.S. Economic Relations
This report examines the economic and trade relations of the United States and India. Since India is the world's most populous democracy, a U.S. ally in anti-terrorism efforts, and a potentially major export market, India's economic development and its trade relations with the United States are of concern to Congress.
American Agriculture and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement
This report identifies four considerations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that are particularly relevant for U.S. food and agriculture. It includes a partial snapshot of some of the higher-profile improvements in market access for agricultural products in the agreement, a summary of selected provisions beyond market access that are of interest to food and agriculture, a brief overview of industry reactions to the agreement, and a review of what would need to occur for the agreement to enter into force for the United States.
Brazil: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the current political and economic situation in Brazil and examines the U.S.'s commercial relationship with the country. The United States traditionally has enjoyed robust economic and political relations with Brazil on issues ranging from international development to climate change.
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.
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.
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.
AGOA III: Amendment to the African Growth and Opportunity Act
This report discusses the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which seeks to spur economic development and help integrate Africa into the world trading system by granting trade preferences and other benefits to Sub-Saharan African countries that meet certain criteria relating to market reform and human rights.
Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues
This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA, H.R. 5724): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians.
Stealing Trade Secrets and Economic Espionage: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832
This report discuses the stealing a trade secret, which is a federal crime when the information relates to a product in interstate or foreign commerce, 18 U.S.C. 1832 (theft of trade secrets), or when the intended beneficiary is a foreign power, 18 U.S.C. 1831 (economic espionage).
Proposed Import Restrictions on Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs)
Low farm milk prices and declining dairy sector income in 2009 have renewed congressional interest in imposing new import barriers on milk protein concentrates (MPCs), which generally include casein, the main protein found in milk, and caseinates, a soluble form of casein. This report examines proposed import restrictions and potential trade policy implications.
Proposed Import Restrictions on Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs)
Low farm milk prices and declining dairy sector income in 2009 have renewed congressional interest in imposing new import barriers on milk protein concentrates (MPCs), which generally include casein, the main protein found in milk, and caseinates, a soluble form of casein. This report examines proposed import restrictions and potential trade policy implications.
Softwood Lumber Imports From Canada: Current Issues
This report examines the status and current issues surrounding Canadian softwood lumber imports since 2006. After providing background information on what constitutes softwood lumber, the stakeholders in the dispute, and the history of the dispute, the report introduces the 2006 SLA and analyzes its impacts on the U.S. lumber industry as well as on the trade relationship between the United States and Canada. Finally, the report discusses the potential issues Congress may consider when the agreement expires in 2015.
Trade Preferences for Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
This report discusses the trade preferences and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) most-favored-nation (MFN) requirements, World Trade Organization (WTO) waivers for preferential trade agreements, and WTO waivers for U.S. preference programs.
Trade Preferences for Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
This report discusses the trade preferences and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) most-favored-nation (MFN) requirements, World Trade Organization (WTO) waivers for preferential trade agreements, and WTO waivers for U.S. preference programs.
Trade Preferences for Developing Countries and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
This report discusses the trade preferences and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) most-favored-nation (MFN) requirements, World Trade Organization (WTO) waivers for preferential trade agreements, and WTO waivers for U.S. preference programs.
Patents and Drug Importation
This report explores the intellectual property laws and policies concerning the parallel importation of patented pharmaceuticals into the United States.
Job Loss: Causes and Policy Implications
Job loss is one of the most important macroeconomic problems facing policymakers, both in terms of its economic and social cost. This report discusses factors that cause job loss and the policy implications.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Status for Russia and U.S.-Russian Economic Ties
This report discusses the issues surrounding whether or not the U.S. should grant Russia permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) following its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). The change in Russia's trade status will require legislation to lift the restrictions of Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 as they apply to Russia, which includes the "freedom-of-emigration" requirements of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.
U.S.-Taiwan Trade Relations
This report discusses the U.S. - Taiwan relations. U.S. trade data indicate that in 2014, Taiwan was the United States’ 10th largest merchandise trading partner (at $67.4 billion), 14th largest export market ($26.8 billion), and 12th largest source of imports ($40.6 billion).
Taxes and Offshore Outsourcing
This report discusses the impact of taxes on international trade and investment has been debated for decades. Most recently, a variety of bills addressing international taxation have been introduced in the 110th Congress—some would cut taxes for U.S. firms overseas, while others would increase taxes on foreign investment. The debate over taxes and foreign outsourcing has tended to grow more heated during times of domestic economic weakness and high unemployment; questions arise over whether taxes contribute to such weakness by discouraging exports (or encouraging imports) or by encouraging U.S. firms to move abroad. The debate over international taxation has again become prominent as a part of the wider debate over “outsourcing.” With taxes, the debate asks how the current system affects outsourcing, and whether policies designed to limit the phenomenon might be desirable.
China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report addresses relevant policy questions in current U.S.-China relations, discusses trends and key legislation in the current Congress and provides a chronology of developments and high-level exchanges.
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.
U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues
This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA; H.R. 5724 and S. 2830): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians.
United States-Canada Trade and Economic Relationship: Prospects and Challenges
This report discusses trade and economic relationship between the United States and Canada, which conduct the world’s largest bilateral trade relationship.
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.
WTO Doha Round: Implications for U.S. Agriculture
The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations began in November 2001. From an agricultural viewpoint, the goal of the negotiations was to make progress simultaneously across the three pillars of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Agricultural Agreement—domestic support, market access, and export competition—by building on the specific terms and conditions established during the previous Uruguay Round of negotiations. This report reviews the current status of agricultural negotiations for domestic support, market access, and export subsidies, and their potential implications for U.S. agriculture.
U.S.-European Union Trade Relations: Issues and Policy Challenges
This report examines the economic partnership between the United States and the European Union. Not only is the U.S.-EU trade and investment relationship the largest in the world, but it is also arguably the most important. Agreement between the two partners in the past has been critical to making the world trading system more open and efficient.
The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Background and Issues
This report discusses the proposed U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) signed November 22, 2006, which has not yet been approved by Congress. It includes an overview of the proposed CFTA and U.S.-Colombia trade, background on Colombia, issues for Congress to consider, Colombia's plan to improve labor rights, and the actions that Colombia has already taken to improve violence, labor, and human rights within the country.
The Proposed U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Automobile Rules of Origin
This report begins with a discussion of the complex supply chains that now underlie automotive production. It then explains the procedures established in the KORUS FTA for determining whether an automotive product qualifies as being of South Korean or United States origin and compares those procedures to the rules established in the free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union. Finally, it discusses whether the domestic content rules in the KORUS FTA could enable circumvention of the rules of origin by allowing automotive components produced in North Korea’s Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) to enter the United States duty-free in assembled motor vehicles, and thereby receive the benefits provided by the agreement.