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CRS — Major Agricultural Trade Issues in the 114th Congress (February 10, 2015)

April 22, 2015 Comments off

Major Agricultural Trade Issues in the 114th Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Trade, including agricultural trade, is clearly on the national agenda in the 114th Congress. The United States is engaged in negotiating two large regional trade agreements—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among 12 Pacific-facing nations, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union. These agreements hold the potential to expand foreign markets for U.S. farmers and food processors by eliminating, or substantially lowering, tariffs and restrictive quotas around certain commodities, such as rice and pork in Japan, or by dismantling supply management programs that protect poultry, eggs, and dairy in Canada. Also on the negotiating agenda are non-tariff trade barriers, including certain sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures that governments employ to safeguard human, animal, and plant health, but which may also be used to deter imports. Geographic Indications (GI) that restrict the use of common names for certain agricultural products and can thereby impede trade in U.S. farm products are on the agenda of U.S. negotiators in both TPP and T-TIP. At the global level, further liberalization of agricultural trade is an objective of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), but those talks have effectively stalled.

CRS — Small Business Administration Trade and Export Promotion Programs (February 3, 2015)

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Small Business Administration Trade and Export Promotion Programs (PDF)
Source: COngressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

According to Census Bureau data, approximately 1% of small businesses in the United States currently export. With roughly three-quarters of world purchasing power and almost 95% of world consumers living outside U.S. borders, more attention is being paid to the potential of small business export promotion programs to grow small businesses and contribute to the national economic recovery. In addition, some Members of Congress believe the contributions of small businesses to commercial innovation and economic growth could be enhanced through greater access to growing international markets.

Consistent with these policy goals, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides export promotion and financing services to small businesses through its loan guaranty programs, management and training programs, and other initiatives. SBA’s Office of International Trade (OIT) coordinates these activities as it assists with four stages of export promotion: (1) identifying small businesses interested in export promotion; (2) preparing small businesses to export; (3) connecting small businesses to export opportunities; and (4) supporting small businesses once they find export opportunities.

New Administration Report: Exports Helping to Support Jobs, Grow Small Businesses Across America

April 14, 2015 Comments off

New Administration Report: Exports Helping to Support Jobs, Grow Small Businesses Across America
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today released a new report that shows that the number of jobs supported by goods exports continues to rise in states across the country. The report also includes individual success stories, in all 50 states, of small and medium sized businesses that are using exports to expand their businesses and support well-paying American jobs.

China’s Economic Ties with ASEAN: A Country-By-Country Analysis

March 23, 2015 Comments off

China’s Economic Ties with ASEAN: A Country-By-Country Analysis
Source: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC)

This paper assesses China’s relative significance for individual ASEAN economies. It starts with an overview of China’s trade and investment relations with ASEAN as a whole. The paper then provides descriptive statistics on each ASEAN country’s composition of foreign trade by product and top trade partner, as well as foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. It also provides a brief analysis of commercial disputes and bilateral cooperation with China.

2014 North American Freight Numbers

March 20, 2015 Comments off

2014 North American Freight Numbers
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Four of five transportation modes – truck, rail, pipeline, and vessel – carried more U.S. freight with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico by value in 2014 than in 2013 as the overall value of freight on all modes rose 4.5 percent in current dollars to $1.2 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) (Figure 1 and Table 1).

In 2014 compared to 2013, the value of commodities moving by pipeline grew the most, 12.5 percent, despite a decline in cost per unit of petroleum products, due to the increased volume of freight. Truck increased 4.5 percent, rail increased 1.5 percent, vessel increased 0.2 percent, and air decreased 0.2 percent.

The Intellectual Basis of U.S. Trade Policy Trench Warfare

March 19, 2015 Comments off

The Intellectual Basis of U.S. Trade Policy Trench Warfare
Source: Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

At its core, trade policy is based in economics. And despite what many economists claim, economics is not a science. And, as with economics, intellectual approaches to the issue of trade differ substantially. These approaches reflect differences in economic doctrine among economists, policymakers and others. This paper postulates and describes three competing economic doctrines that shape the current U.S. trade debate: the predominant neoclassical doctrine (NC), the oppositional neo-Keynesian doctrine (NK), and the emerging innovation economics (IE) doctrine. The IE doctrine (IE) not only more accurately reflects the reality of the 21st century global innovation economy but offers the best opportunity for creating at least some actionable consensus on trade policy moving forward.

What’s Going On? Digitization and Global Music Trade Patterns since 2006

March 11, 2015 Comments off

What’s Going On? Digitization and Global Music Trade Patterns since 2006
Source: European Commission (Joint Research Center)

The objective of this paper is to document the evolution of cross-border music trade patterns in this transition period and to explain what drives digital music trade patterns. The shift from analogue to digital music distribution has substantially reduced trade costs and has enlarged the choice sets of music consumers around the world. Yet, trade costs associated with copyright clearance and language barriers have not disappeared. The objective of this paper is to document the evolution of cross-border music trade patterns in this transition period and to explain what drives digital music trade patterns. Using comprehensive data on digital track sales in the US, Canada, and 16 European countries, 2006-2011, we document patterns of music trade in the digital era and contrast it with what’s known from elsewhere about trade in popular music for the past half century. While home bias in music consumption among the top 100 songs had grown in the pre-digital distribution period prior to 2006, home bias has declined since then. We find that the share of imported songs in music consumption has grown in all countries except in the US. Moreover, although the number of European songs available has risen faster than the number of US songs, the market share of the US in digital music sales has increased while the market shares of European repertoires have fallen. US repertoire holds the largest market share in almost every country. Home bias is lower in the long tail than at the top end of the distribution. We consider four candidate explanations for the shift away from domestic music: a) that growth in availability of particular repertoires explains their growth in total sales and market shares, b) that changes in the effect of distance-related trade costs on trade made possible by digitization explain changed patterns of trade, c) that changed preferences toward particular origin repertoires explains changed patterns, and d) that recent vintages of particular repertoires have grown more or less appealing to world consumers. We conclude that a combination of c) and d) offers the most credible explanation for the observed patterns.

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