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Open Doors 2014: International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students are at All-Time High

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Open Doors 2014: International Students in the United States and Study Abroad by American Students are at All-Time High
Source: Institute of International Education

The 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 students in the 2013/14 academic year, confirming once again that the United States remains the destination of choice for higher education. The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, with almost double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country. The report also found that more American students—a total of 289,408—studied abroad for academic credit from their U.S. colleges and universities, although the two percent increase represents a slightly slower rate of growth than the previous year. The Open Doors® report is published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

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India: the biggest democracy in the world

November 19, 2014 Comments off

India: the biggest democracy in the world
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

With 1 267 million inhabitants, of which 834 million can vote, India is the largest democracy in the world. Despite India’s linguistic and religious diversity, the 2014 general elections have given the newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, a strong mandate. Since coming into office, Modi has reinforced his focus on the economy and international trade, which may further cement EU-India relations. The EU and India have been strategic partners since 2004. They began negotiations on a free trade area in 2007, although several Indian political parties have concerns over these.

USICT Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2013

November 18, 2014 Comments off

USICT Releases Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2013
Source: U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC)

Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade 2013, an annual compendium of data and analysis examining changes in trade with key U.S. partners and in important U.S. industries, was released today by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC).

The USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, releases the information in a web-based format that provides details and reasons for key shifts in trade and that can be searched by country or industry sector.

Users will find a comprehensive review of U.S. trade performance in 2013, focusing on changes in U.S. exports, imports, and trade balances of agricultural and manufacturing industries, key natural resources, as well as changes in U.S. trade with major partners and country groups. Also included are profiles of the U.S. industry and market for over 250 industry groups and subgroups, offering data for 2009-13 on consumption, production, and trade.

The report examines:

  • industry developments and the principal drivers influencing trends in U.S. trade;
  • leading products the United States exported to and imported from its most important trading partners and the key factors influencing trade in these products;
  • price fluctuations, global market trends, government trade policies, and other major factors affecting U.S. trade in 2013.

In the 2013 report, a special topic chapter provides an overview of the use of value added as an innovative method of analyzing trade flows, as well as a discussion of relevant data sources. The chapter describes how this information can help business officials, government representatives, and others better understand the economics of global manufacturing and gain a more precise and nuanced picture of trade deficits and surpluses.

Think Tank 20 — Growth, Convergence, and Income Distribution: The Road From the Brisbane G-20 Summit

November 14, 2014 Comments off

Think Tank 20 — Growth, Convergence, and Income Distribution: The Road From the Brisbane G-20 Summit
Source: Brookings Institution

On November 15-16, world leaders will gather in Brisbane, Australia for the ninth G-20 summit. Leaders are aiming to increase world GDP and chart a pathway to sustainable, inclusive growth and resilience through both short and medium-term actions. In this report, experts from Brookings and around the world address interrelated debates about growth, convergence and income distribution, three key elements that are likely to shape policy debates beyond the Brisbane summit.

New From the GAO

November 13, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Program Evaluation: Some Agencies Reported that Networking, Hiring, and Involving Program Staff Help Build Capacity. GAO-15-25, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-25
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666894.pdf

2. Alternatives to Detention: Improved Data Collection and Analyses Needed to Better Assess Program Effectiveness. GAO-15-26, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-26
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666912.pdf

3. U.S. Postal Service: Status of Workforce Reductions and Related Planning Efforts. GAO-15-43, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-43
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666883.pdf

4. Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges: Low Initial Enrollment Likely due to Multiple, Evolving Factors. GAO-15-58, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-58
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666874.pdf

5. Indian Affairs: Bureau of Indian Education Needs to Improve Oversight of School Spending. GAO-15-121, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-121
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666891.pdf

6. Free Trade Agreements: U.S. Partners Are Addressing Labor Commitments, but More Monitoring and Enforcement Are Needed. GAO-15-160, November 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-160
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666788.pdf

7. Free Trade Agreements: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Should Continue to Improve Its Monitoring of Environmental Commitments. GAO-15-161, November 6.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-161
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666783.pdf

CRS — Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement (October 6, 2014)

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Agriculture in the WTO Bali Ministerial Agreement (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

At the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, December 3-7, 2013, ministers adopted the so-called Bali Package—a series of decisions aimed at streamlining trade (referred to as trade facilitation), allowing developing countries more options for providing food security, boosting least-developed-country trade, and helping development more generally. The Bali Package represents the first multilateral trade deal in nearly two decades; however, it covers only a small fraction of the Doha Round mandate and leaves the more difficult trade topics for future negotiations.

The Bali Package included five agricultural issues: (1) export subsidies and other policies known collectively as export competition; (2) tariff rate quota (TRQ) administration focused on managing persistently under-filled quotas; (3) a temporary peace clause for a developing country’s above-market purchases of commodities for food-security stockholding programs; (4) a proposed list of green-box-eligible general services of particular interest to developing countries; and (5) cotton, in response to a proposal from four African members.

CFR Backgrounder: The Arab League

November 11, 2014 Comments off

Backgrounder: The Arab League
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Founded in March 1945, the League of Arab States (or Arab League) is a loose confederation of twenty-two Arab nations, including Palestine, whose broad mission is to improve coordination among its members on matters of common interest. The League was chartered in response to concerns about postwar colonial divisions of territory as well as strong opposition to the emergence of a Jewish state in Palestine, but it has long been criticized for disunity and poor governance. Critics also say it has traditionally been more representative of its various autocratic regimes than of Arab citizens.

The organization had the opportunity to advance social interests with the push for Palestinian statehood at the UN and the unrest in many Arab countries in 2011. Some critics see positive developments in the League’s actions in Libya, where it supported a no-fly zone and the ouster of Muammar al-Qaddafi, and in Syria, where it orchestrated a fact-finding mission to observe the conflict and called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down after months of deadly clashes with protesters.

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