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Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Debate, CRS Insights (August 18, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Debate, CRS Insights
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank or the Bank), a wholly owned federal government corporation, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the U.S. government. Its mission is to assist in the financing of U.S. exports of goods and services to support U.S. employment. On a demand-driven basis, it seeks to provide financing when the private sector is unwilling, or unable, to undertake alone such financing at terms commercially viable for exporters; and/or to meet foreign competition by countering government-backed financing offered by foreign countries to their companies. Its statutory charter (Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, as amended, 12 U.S.C. §635 et seq.) expires on September 30, 2014 (P.L. 112-122), meaning that the agency’s authority to enter into new obligations generally would cease and a wind-down of operations would be required. (This issue is distinct from an “authorization of appropriations” expiring, which would not, in and of itself, terminate such authority to operate.) Congress is considering whether to renew Ex-Im Bank’s authority and, if so, for how long and under what terms. See CRS Report R43671, Export-Import Bank Reauthorization: Frequently Asked Questions, and CRS In Focus IF00021, Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) Reauthorization (In Focus).

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New From the GAO

September 10, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Federally Funded Research Centers: Agency Reviews of Employee Compensation and Center Performance. GAO-14-593, August 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-593
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665285.pdf

2. Foreign Assistance: USAID Should Update Its Trade Capacity Building Strategy. GAO-14-602, August 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-602
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665281.pdf

3. Veterans Affairs: Better Understanding Needed to Enhance Services to Veterans Readjusting to Civilian Life. GAO-14-676, September 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-676
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665724.pdf

4. DHS Training: Improved Documentation, Resource Tracking, and Performance Measurement Could Strengthen Efforts. GAO-14-688, September 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-688
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665700.pdf

5. Defense Planning: DOD Needs Specific Measures and Milestones to Gauge Progress of Preparations for Operational Access Challenges. GAO-14-801, September 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-801
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665696.pdf

Testimonies

1. Department of Education: Status of Prior GAO Recommendations, by Jacqueline M. Nowicki, acting director, education, workforce, and income security, and Melissa Emrey-Arras, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, House Committee on Education and the Workforce. GAO-14-848T, September 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-848T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665694.pdf

2. Older Americans: Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Retirees, by Charles A. Jeszeck, director, education, workforce, and income security, before the Senate Special Committee On Aging. GAO-14-866T, September 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-866T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665710.pdf

8 Facts About U.S. Crude Oil Production

September 10, 2014 Comments off

8 Facts About U.S. Crude Oil Production
Source: Brookings Institution

The skyrocketing growth of unconventional oil and natural gas production in the United States has ignited an intense debate on the impact of energy exports on U.S. energy and economic security and its foreign policy. In “Changing Markets: Economic Opportunities from Lifting the U.S. Ban on Crude Oil Exports,” Charles Ebinger and Heather Greenley worked with National Economic Research Associates (NERA) to examine the economic and national security impacts of lifting the ban on crude oil exports. Learn eights facts about U.S. crude oil production within the key findings outlined below, and download the full report.

Why Trade Matters

September 9, 2014 Comments off

Why Trade Matters
Source: Brookings Institution

This policy brief explores the economic rationale and strategic imperative of an ambitious domestic and global trade agenda from the perspective of the United States. International trade is often viewed through the relatively narrow prism of trade-offs that might be made among domestic sectors or between trading partners, but it is important to consider also the impact that increased trade has on global growth, development and security. With that context in mind, this paper assesses the implications of the Asia-Pacific and European trade negotiations underway, including for countries that are not participating but aspire to join. It outlines some of the challenges that stand in the way of completion and ways in which they can be addressed. It examines whether the focus on “mega-regional trade agreements comes at the expense of broader liberalization or acts as a catalyst to develop higher standards than might otherwise be possible. It concludes with policy recommendations for action by governments, legislators and stakeholders to address concerns that have been raised and create greater domestic support.

New U.S. Department of Commerce Reports Demonstrate Exports Continue Helping Spur U.S. Economy and Supporting Jobs

September 8, 2014 Comments off

New U.S. Department of Commerce Reports Demonstrate Exports Continue Helping Spur U.S. Economy and Supporting Jobs
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce today released new data highlighting for the first time the number of jobs supported by goods exports from each of the 50 states, as well as a report on goods exports from the nation’s 387 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in 2013. The Commerce Department research shows that U.S. goods exports supported 7.1 million jobs whereas overall goods and services exports – which totaled $2.3 trillion — supported more than 11.3 million American jobs in 2013.

At the same time, U.S. metropolitan areas exported more than $1.4 trillion in goods to the world in 2013, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all U.S. goods exports. Texas exports supported more jobs – an estimated 1.1. million – than were supported by the exports from any other single state. Houston topped metropolitan area rankings for a second consecutive year with $115 billion in goods exports.

CRS — Small Refineries and Oil Field Processors: Opportunities and Challenges (August 11, 2014)

September 4, 2014 Comments off

Small Refineries and Oil Field Processors: Opportunities and Challenges (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The last refinery constructed in the United States opened in 1977. Since the mid-1980s, some 150 have closed as part of an industry-wide consolidation. Over the same time, the remaining refineries expanded their operational capacity by 23% to keep up with increasing demand. Current U.S. refining capacity appears to satisfy if not exceed demand as the increasing export of refined petroleum products would seem to suggest. Notwithstanding the current surplus capacity, opportunities for new refineries appear to have emerged as the result of the rise in production of U.S. light-sweet crude oil from unconventional resources such as North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’ Eagle Ford formations. These new resources have revitalized some refinery operations that formerly depended on imported light crude oil, thereby making the smaller refineries more competitive with large refineries that process more widely available heavy-sour crude oil. Rising domestic crude oil production has not only led U.S. refineries to export their petroleum products, but has led some oil producers to attempt to bypass refining and export crude oil condensates directly. However, Department of Commerce regulations currently restrict crude oil exports. Whether condensates fall under a refined product classification or crude oil remains an unresolved issue, and one that Congress may choose to take up. Congress may also consider whether small businesses face inherent disadvantages in entering an industry dominated by large complex refinery operators.

New From the GAO

August 29, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Export-Import Bank: Monitoring of Dual-Use Exports Should Be Improved. GAO-14-719, August 28.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-719
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665477.pdf

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