Agreements & Legislation

Reauthorize the Export-Import Bank

Congress this fall will consider ‘reauthorization’ of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, in an environment in which the 80-year-old Bank has received closer scrutiny than ever before. The Bank’s critics are mistaken. Its mission remains valid and its operations remain important. On four grounds of good public policy and for legitimate national self-interest, Congress should approve the reauthorization and renew the Bank’s charter.

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Agreements & Legislation

U.S. trade policy turned 80 last Thursday.

Eight decades later, the Obama administration’s pending request for a new Trade Promotion Authority bill would guide five negotiations: the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; the Geneva-based Trade in Services Agreement; and the WTO’s ongoing negotiations to eliminate tariffs on environmental technologies and information technology goods. Thus trade negotiations join Social Security, farm supports, minimum wages, and child labor laws among the 21st century’s principal living New Deal legacies.

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Agreements & Legislation

African real GDP has doubled since 2000.

AGOA’s role in Africa’s boom shouldn’t be exaggerated, but it has made an important contribution. Its successes, though, aren’t really the light-industry and clothing exports its designers expected in 1999 and 2000. America’s fastest-growing imports from Africa by dollar value have been in energy, driven by high global demand rather than tariff policies or economic reforms. The next version should focus on trade facilitation and capacity-building.

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Agreements & Legislation

Testimony to the International Trade Commission: AGOA at 14

We are now approaching a decade likely to pose more challenges for Africa than did the last – commodity prices are down, the U.S. becoming more self-sufficient in energy, and Chinese growth rates fading a bit – and in which Africa will likely need to rely more heavily on domestic demand and exports of value-added good than it has since 2000. The next version of AGOA should thus focus on areas that the first generation missed. This in particular should be trade facilitation.

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Agreements & Legislation

The U.S. Congress has passed 18 “negotiating authority” bills since 1934.

Congress has passed 18 U.S. trade negotiating authority bills since the first one, the New Deal-era Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act. As time has passed, policy has grown more ambitious and Congresses have given administrations more detailed guidance. The 2014 proposal, the “Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014,” is no exception.

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