“Stage One” U.S.-Japan trade Agreements

On October 7, 2019, after six months of formal negotiations, the United States and Japan signed two agreements intended to liberalize bilateral trade. One, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA), provides for limited tariff reductions and quota expansions to improve market access. The other, the U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement, includes commitments pertaining to digital aspects of… Continue Reading “Stage One” U.S.-Japan trade Agreements

U.S.-Foreign Trade Zones: Background and Issues for Congress

  U.S. foreign-trade zones (FTZs) are geographic areas declared to be outside the normal customs territory of the United States. This means that, for foreign merchandise entering FTZs and reexported as different products, customs procedures are streamlined and tariffs do not apply. For products intended for U.S. consumption, full customs procedures are applied and duties… Continue Reading U.S.-Foreign Trade Zones: Background and Issues for Congress

G-20 and International Economic Cooperation

The Group of Twenty (G-20) is a forum for advancing international cooperation and coordination among 20 major advanced and emerging-market economies. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the… Continue Reading G-20 and International Economic Cooperation

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Energy Sector

The popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology presents both challenges and opportunities to the energy sector. As interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has increased, the energy demand to support cryptocurrency “mining” activities has also increased. The increased energy demand—when localized—can exceed the available power capacity and increase customers’ electricity… Continue Reading Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the Energy Sector

Addressing the Long-Run Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches

The growth of the national debt, which is considered unsustainable under current policies, continues to be one of the central issues of domestic federal policymaking. Addressing a federal budget deficit that is unsustainable over the long run involves choices. Fundamentally, the issues require deciding what government goods, services, and transfers are worth paying taxes for.… Continue Reading Addressing the Long-Run Deficit: A Comparison of Approaches

Advanced Nuclear Reactors: Technology Overview and Current Issues

An “advanced nuclear reactor” is defined in legislation enacted in 2018 as “a nuclear fission reactor with significant improvements over the most recent generation of nuclear fission reactors” or a reactor using nuclear fusion (P.L. 115-248). Such reactors include LWR designs that are far smaller than existing reactors, as well as concepts that would use… Continue Reading Advanced Nuclear Reactors: Technology Overview and Current Issues

Iran Sanctions

Successive Administrations have used sanctions extensively to try to change Iran’s behavior. Sanctions have a substantial effect on Iran’﷿s economy and on some major decisions, but little or no effect on Iran’﷿s regional malign activities. During 2012-2015, when the global community was relatively united in pressuring Iran, Iran’﷿s economy shrank as its crude oil exports… Continue Reading Iran Sanctions

U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues and Implications

The economic and trade relationship with Mexico is of interest to U.S. policymakers because of Mexico’s proximity to the United States, the extensive trade and investment relationship under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the conclusion of the NAFTA renegotiations and the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the strong cultural and economic ties that… Continue Reading U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues and Implications

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region’s future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. Record low extents of Arctic sea ice over the past decade… Continue Reading Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

LNG as a Maritime Fuel: Prospects and Policy

The combination of growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies and new requirements for less polluting fuels in the maritime shipping industry has heightened interest in LNG as a maritime fuel. The use of LNG as an engine (“bunker”) fuel in shipping is also drawing attention from federal agencies and is beginning to emerge as an… Continue Reading LNG as a Maritime Fuel: Prospects and Policy