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Mapping Freight: The Highly Concentrated Nature of Goods Trade in the United States

December 26, 2014 Comments off

Mapping Freight: The Highly Concentrated Nature of Goods Trade in the United States
Source: Brookings Institution

Considering the importance of goods trade to the United States, strikingly little is known about which regions trade with one another. This information gap limits the country’s ability to coordinate freight policies and investments. To address this deficiency, this report analyzes domestic and international goods trade data from 2010, revealing that:

+ The country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas drive national goods trade, with more than 80 percent of all goods either starting or ending in these areas. In total, $16.2 trillion in domestic and international goods flow annually through the largest metropolitan areas, which specialize in moving advanced industrial products.

+ Just 10 percent of the country’s trade corridors move 79 percent of all goods, the most valuable of which are concentrated in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. The vast majority of the nation’s goods trade tends to be highly concentrated in corridors between the largest metropolitan areas.

+ Every region of the country relies on at least one major network hub to move large volumes of goods along different corridors domestically and internationally. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are the clear hubs of the national network, while other large metropolitan areas like Houston and Detroit are centralized traders based upon specialties. These large and diverse markets often represent critical points in the national network and highlight the need to prioritize places for infrastructure investment.

+ Metropolitan areas tend to trade more goods with each other when they are located close together, employ a sizable number of logistics workers, and house large populations. Controlling for all other factors, each additional 100 miles separating two regions reduces expected trade volumes by 3.2 percent. Every additional 10,000 logistics workers increases expected trade between two regions by over 12 percent, and an additional one million residents increases expected trade volumes by over 1.5 percent.

+ With over 77 percent of the nation’s freight moving between different states, the United States must establish a more coordinated freight strategy across all levels of the public and private sectors. Since most regions move goods across state lines, they depend on a well-connected freight network to reach distant markets and drive economic growth. Some metropolitan areas, such as Las Vegas and Baltimore, exchange over 90 percent of their goods beyond their respective states.

U.S. Census Bureau: 2012 Manufacturing and International Trade Report (Released December 18, 2014)

December 18, 2014 Comments off

2012 Manufacturing and International Trade Report
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

This new annual report from the U.S. Census Bureau will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive comparison between detailed manufacturing product class data and associated import and export data. The data are published on a North American Industry Classification System basis from the 2012 Economic Census Industry Series, presented with official U.S. export and import merchandise trade statistics. Future reports will also incorporate statistics from the Annual Survey of Manufactures.

Global trade increasingly obstructed, EU Report says

December 18, 2014 Comments off

Global trade increasingly obstructed, EU Report says
Source: European Commission

The tendency to impose trade-restricting measures remains strong among the EU’s commercial partners, fuelling continuing uncertainty in the world economy. These are the main findings of the European Commission’s annual report on protectionism published today 17 November.

In the 13 months covered by the report, G20 members and other key EU trading partners adopted a total of 170 new trade-unfriendly measures. The countries that have adopted the most such measures were Russia, China, India and Indonesia. At the same time, only 12 pre-existing trade barriers have been removed. This means that hundreds of protectionist measures adopted since the beginning of the economic downturn continue to hamper world trade, despite the G20 commitment.

The number of measures applied at the border and quickly obstructing trade –already high last year – continued to rise, with Russia applying the highest number of individual measures affecting imports. The number of new exports restrictions has also risen, a trend that is particularly worrying. All countries depend on each other’s natural resources and such practices can have detrimental consequences for global commodity markets and value chains.

Countries also resorted more frequently to discriminatory internal taxation, technical regulations or localisation requirements to shield their markets from foreign competition. China introduced the highest number of such measures.

Investors and service providers also continue to be affected by limitations in access to foreign markets. Finally, the tendency to restrict participation of foreign companies in public tenders remains strong, in particular in the United States.

CRS — Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions (December 11, 2014)

December 17, 2014 Comments off

Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The United States has led the international community in imposing economic sanctions on Iran, in an effort to change the government of that country’s support of acts of international terrorism, poor human rights record, weapons and missile development and acquisition, role in regional instability, and development of a nuclear program.

This report identifies the legislative bases for sanctions imposed on Iran, and the nature of the authority to waive or lift those restrictions. It comprises two tables that present legislation and executive orders that are specific to Iran and its objectionable activities in the areas of terrorism, human rights, and weapons proliferation. It will be updated if and when new legislation is enacted, or, in the case of executive orders, if and when the President takes additional steps to change U.S. policy toward Iran.

From Spaghetti Bowl to Jigsaw Puzzle? Addressing the Disarray in the World Trade System

December 16, 2014 Comments off

From Spaghetti Bowl to Jigsaw Puzzle? Addressing the Disarray in the World Trade System
Source: Asian Development Bank

The rise of mega-regionals suggests that the world trade system is fragmenting to the point it appears more like a jigsaw puzzle than a spaghetti bowl. There are both regional and global jigsaw puzzles to be solved—in that order—to rectify the situation but this appears impractical.

Therefore, a way forward is to return to the most widely used modality of trade liberalization—unilateral actions—but this time involving the multilateralization of preferences.

Effect of Increased Levels of Liquefied Natural Gas Exports on U.S. Energy Markets

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Effect of Increased Levels of Liquefied Natural Gas Exports on U.S. Energy Markets (PDF)
Source: Energy Information Administration

This report responds to a May 29, 2014 request from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) for an update of the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) January 2012 study of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export scenarios. This updated study, like the prior one, is intended to serve as an input to be considered in the evaluation of applications to export LNG from the United States under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act, which requires DOE to grant a permit to export domestically produced natural gas unless it finds that such action is not consistent with the public interest. Appendix A provides a copy of the DOE/FE request letter.

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Tariff-Rate Quotas for U.S. Meat Exports to the European Union

December 8, 2014 Comments off

Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and Tariff-Rate Quotas for U.S. Meat Exports to the European Union
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

The EU is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of beef, pork, and poultry, but EU tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) policies continue to limit imports of U.S. meats.

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