Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress

Debates over Exchange Rates: Overview and Issues for Congress.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Rebecca M. Nelson. June 22, 2018

 Exchange rates are among the most important prices in the global economy. They affect the price of every country’s imports and exports, as well as the value of every overseas investment. Over the past decade, some Members of Congress have been concerned that foreign countries are using exchange rate policies to gain an unfair trade advantage against other countries, or “manipulating” their currencies. Congressional concerns have focused on China’s foreign exchange interventions over the past decade to weaken its currency against the U.S. dollar, although concerns have also been raised about a number of other countries pursuing similar policies.

 [PDF format, 29 pages].

Managing International Borders: Balancing Security with the Licit Flow of People and Goods

Managing International Borders: Balancing Security with the Licit Flow of People and Goods. RAND Corporation.  Daniel M. Gerstein et al. May 9, 2018.

 The concept of border management hinges on the tension between the need to prevent undesirable people and goods from crossing borders and the economic vitality that a country gains through trade and travel. Building on the concept of border management, this Perspective proposes opportunities to strengthen security while simultaneously improving the flow of licit travelers and goods through national policies, programs, regulations, and activities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 31 pages].

Testing the Value of the Postwar International Order

Testing the Value of the Postwar International Order. RAND Corporation.   Michael J. Mazarr, Ashley L. Rhoades. January 8, 2018.

 Since 1945, the United States has pursued its interests through the creation and maintenance of international economic institutions, global organizations including the United Nations and G-7, bilateral and regional security organizations including alliances, and liberal political norms that collectively are often referred to as the “international order.” In recent years, rising powers have begun to challenge aspects of this order. The purpose of this report is very specific: to evaluate the order’s value — to assess its role in promoting U.S. goals and interests, and to measure its possible economic benefits in a number of specific areas. To answer the question of the order’s value, we first had to define the components of the order that we proposed to evaluate for possible value to U.S. interests. We then reviewed broad assessments of the order, as well as detailed empirical work on its specific components. The resulting analysis produced five major findings: the postwar order offers significant value to U.S. interests and objectives; specifically in quantifiable and return-on-investment terms, the order contributes to outcomes with measurable value and appears to have a strongly positive cost-benefit calculus; the postwar order represents a leading U.S. competitive advantage; if the United States wants to continue to lead globally, some form of order is vital; and a functioning multilateral order will be essential to deal with emerging security and economic issues. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 124 pages, 1.09 MB].

After Brexit: Alternate Forms of Brexit and Their Implications for the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States

After Brexit: Alternate forms of Brexit and their implications for the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States. RAND Corporation. Charles P. Ries et al. December 11, 2017.

Whether Brexit is judged to be success or not will depend to some degree on its economic impact. Much of the debate in the UK around Brexit has been focused on a ‘hard’ or ‘soft Brexit’, which relates to whether the UK should leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. However, there are a range of different trade opportunities and arrangements that could happen between the UK and European Union (EU), and other countries, such as the U.S., post-Brexit.

RAND explored eight plausible post-Brexit trade scenarios involving the UK, EU and U.S. after Brexit. Game theory insights were also used to create a better understanding of how a variety of factors might affect the outcome of Brexit negotiations. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 159 pages, 1.31 MB].

Measuring the Health of the Liberal International Order

Measuring the Health of the Liberal International Order. RAND Corporation. Michael J. Mazarr et al. September 5, 2017.

As part of a larger study on the future of the post-World War II liberal international order, RAND researchers analyze the health of the existing order and offer implications for future U.S. policy. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 229 pages, 1.41 MB].

Generalized System of Preferences: Background and Renewal Debate

Generalized System of Preferences: Background and Renewal Debate. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Vivian C. Jones. December 16, 2014

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program provides non-reciprocal, duty-free tariff treatment to certain products imported from designated beneficiary developing countries (BDCs). The United States, the European Union, and other developed countries have
implemented similar programs since the 1970s. The U.S. program was first authorized in Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, and is subject to periodic renewal by Congress. The GSP program was most recently extended until July 31, 2013, in Section 1 of P.L. 112-40, and has not been
renewed. Imports under the GSP program in 2012 (last full year of GSP implementation) amounted to about $19.9 billion—about 6% of all imports from GSP countries, and about 1% of total U.S. imports.

[PDF format, 37 pages, 477.39 KB].

U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts

U.S. International Trade: Trends and Forecasts. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Brock R. Williams and J. Michael Donnelly. October 19, 2012.

The global financial crisis and the U.S. recession, during the 19 months from December 2007 through June 2009, caused the U.S. trade deficit to decrease, or lessen, from August 2008 through May 2009. Since then it has begun to increase again as recovery has commenced. The financial crisis caused U.S. imports to drop faster than U.S. exports, but that trend has reversed as U.S. demand for imports recovers.

[PDF format, 38 pages, 480.24 KB].