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The Economic Effects of Trade

 

James K. Jackson

CRS Report R44546


The United States is considering two comprehensive and high-standard mega-regional free trade agreements: the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among the United States and 11 other countries, and the U.S.-European Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), still under negotiation. The 12 TPP countries signed the agreement in February 2016, but the agreement must be ratified by each country before it can enter into force. In the United States this requires implementing legislation by Congress. For Members of Congress and others, international trade and trade agreements offer the prospect of improving national economic welfare, while also raising questions about the potential cost to the economy. Congress plays an important role in shaping and considering legislation to implement U.S. trade agreements.
Discussions of trade and trade agreements often focus on a number of issues, including the role that trade plays in the U.S. economy, the impact of trade agreements on employment gains and losses, and the size of the U.S. trade deficit. This report focusses on some of the major issues associated with trade and trade agreements and the impact of trade on the U.S. economy.