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USDA Agricultural Projections to 2024

February 16, 2015 Comments off

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2024
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

USDA’s 10-year projections for the food and agriculture sector cover major agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the U.S. farm sector, such as farm income.

Who Is Internationally Diversified? Evidence from 296 401(k) Plans

February 16, 2015 Comments off

Who Is Internationally Diversified? Evidence from 296 401(k) Plans
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

We examine the international equity allocations of over 3 million individuals in 296 401(k) plans over the 2006-2011 period. These allocations show enormous cross-individual variation, ranging between zero and over 75 percent, as well as an upward trend that is only partially accounted for by the slight decrease in importance of the U.S. market relative to the world market. International equity allocations also display strong cohort effects, with younger cohorts investing more internationally than older ones, but also each cohort investing more internationally over time. This finding suggests that the home bias phenomenon may slowly disappear over time. Worker’s salary has a positive effect on international allocations, while account balance has a negative one, but these effects are not economically large. Education, financial literacy, and the fraction of the foreign-born population measured at the zip code level have strong positive effects on international diversification, consistent with familiarity and information stories. In addition, states with more exports have higher international allocations.

Foreign Direct Investment stocks at the end of 2013 – EU was a net investor in the rest of the world – The United States, by far the main partner of the EU

February 16, 2015 Comments off

Foreign Direct Investment stocks at the end of 2013 – EU was a net investor in the rest of the world – The United States, by far the main partner of the EU
Source: Eurostat

Data on FDI stocks help to quantify the impact of globalisation and provide a measurement of longstanding economic links between countries. They measure the accumulated value of all FDI carried out in the past.

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FACT SHEET: Progress in Our Ebola Response at Home and Abroad

February 13, 2015 Comments off

FACT SHEET: Progress in Our Ebola Response at Home and Abroad
Source: White House

Today, approximately 10 months since the first U.S. personnel deployed to West Africa to fight Ebola, we mark important milestones in our response to the epidemic and chart the way ahead. In keeping with the President’s charge that we tackle Ebola as a national security priority, we built, coordinated, and led an international response—involving thousands of personnel, both U.S. and international, civilian, and military—to fight the disease at its source. All the while, we enhanced our preparedness to encounter Ebola on our shores, establishing comprehensive measures to screen and detect the disease in travelers, while strengthening our capacity to diagnose, isolate, and treat any patients safely. This response showcased American leadership at its finest on the world stage, just as we came together as a nation to fortify our domestic resilience in the face of understandable apprehension. To be sure, our tasks are far from complete; we will keep working to meet this challenge until there are zero cases in West Africa and our domestic infrastructure is fully completed. Our focus now turns to consolidating that substantial progress as America today marks the next phase of our response.

Remarks by the President on Request to Congress for Authorization of Force Against ISIL

February 12, 2015 Comments off

Remarks by the President on Request to Congress for Authorization of Force Against ISIL
Source: White House

Today, my administration submitted a draft resolution to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIL. I want to be very clear about what it does and what it does not do.

This resolution reflects our core objective to destroy ISIL. It supports the comprehensive strategy that we have been pursuing with our allies and partners: A systemic and sustained campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Support and training for local forces on the ground, including the moderate Syrian opposition. Preventing ISIL attacks, in the region and beyond, including by foreign terrorist fighters who try to threaten our countries. Regional and international support for an inclusive Iraqi government that unites the Iraqi people and strengthens Iraqi forces against ISIL. Humanitarian assistance for the innocent civilians of Iraq and Syria, who are suffering so terribly under ISIL’s reign of horror.

The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq. The 2,600 American troops in Iraq today largely serve on bases — and, yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment. But they do not have a combat mission. They are focused on training Iraqi forces, including Kurdish forces.

As I’ve said before, I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East. That’s not in our national security interest and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL. Local forces on the ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL — and that’s what they’re doing.

CRS — U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions (January 30, 2015)

February 11, 2015 Comments off

U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

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 United States and 11 other countries and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union (EU). Also of interest to Congress are current plurilateral negotiations for a Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and a new multilateral Information Technology (ITA) agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trade and investment policies of major U.S. trading partners (such as China), especially when they are deemed harmful to U.S. economic interests, are also of continued concern to Congress. Recent improved U.S. relations with Cuba have resulted in the introduction of several bills to boost bilateral commercial ties. The costs and benefits of trade to the U.S. economy, firms, workers, and constituents, and the future direction of U.S. trade policy, are the subject of ongoing debates in Congress.

This report provides information and context for these and many other trade topics. It is intended to assist Members and staff who may be new to trade issues. The report is divided into four sections in a question-and-answer format: trade concepts; U.S. trade performance; formulation of U.S. trade policy; and trade and investment issues. Additional suggested readings are provided in an appendix.

National Security Strategy 2015

February 9, 2015 Comments off

National Security Strategy 2015 (PDF)
Source: White House

This strategy builds on the progress of the last 6 years, in which our active leadership has helped the world recover from a global economic crisis and respond to an array of emerging challenges. Our progress includes strengthening an unrivaled alliance system, underpinned by our enduring partnership with Europe, while investing in nascent multilateral forums like the G-20 and East Asia Summit. We brought most of our troops home after more than a decade of honorable service in two wars while adapting our counterterrorism strategy for an evolving terrorist threat. We led a multinational coalition to support the Afghan government to take responsibility for the security of their country, while supporting Afghanistan’s first peaceful, democratic transition of power. The United States led the international response to natural disasters, including the earthquake in Haiti, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the typhoon in the Philippines to save lives, prevent greater damage, and support efforts to rebuild. We led international efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, including by building an unprecedented international sanctions regime to hold Iran responsible for failing to meet its international obligations, while pursuing a diplomatic effort that has already stopped the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolled it back in key respects. We are rebalancing toward Asia and the Pacific while seeking new opportunities for partnership and investment in Africa and the Americas, where we have spurred greater agriculture and energy-related investments than ever before. And at home and abroad, we are taking concerted action to confront the dangers posed by climate change and to strengthen our energy security.

Still, there is no shortage of challenges that demand continued American leadership. The potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, poses a grave risk. Even as we have decimated al-Qa’ida’s core leadership, more diffuse networks of al-Qa’ida, ISIL, and affiliated groups threaten U.S. citizens, interests, allies, and partners. Violent extremists exploit upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa. Fragile and conflict-affected states incubate and spawn infectious disease, illicit weapons and drug smugglers, and destabilizing refugee flows

See also: Fact Sheet: The 2015 National Security Strategy

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