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  • Issue Brief posted May 11, 2015 by Ryan Olson, Anthony B. Kim Congress Should Recognize the Dynamic Benefits of Imports

    Advocates of free trade agreements often assert that trade is beneficial because it gives American businesses better access to the world’s consumers, 95 percent of whom live outside the United States. While this claim is a fact, the argument centers on the regrettable fixation over the benefits of exports. This mercantilist view often discounts or even completely ignores…

  • Commentary posted May 7, 2015 by Brett D. Schaefer, Helle C. Dale, James M. Roberts Hot Air and Spurned Allies: A Tally of Obama's Foreign Failures

    The 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) was released last week to predictable fanfare. Secretary of State John Kerry declared it to be "the blueprint for the next generation of American diplomacy." In truth, the report falls far short of that goal.     The QDDR starts with proper caution. Secretary Kerry writes:   A very smart Foreign Service…

  • Issue Brief posted April 27, 2015 by Ryan Olson Congress Should Swap Tariff Refunds for Long-Term GSP Reauthorization

    On April 22 and 23, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees approved legislation to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a trade program that removes tariffs on nearly 5,000 products from 126 developing countries. This is the second time in the 20 months since the program’s expiration that Congress will consider a bill to renew GSP. The…

  • Issue Brief posted April 9, 2015 by Ryan Olson What Big Labor Gets Wrong on Trade

    Congressional debate over trade promotion authority and the ongoing negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has raised the profile of trade policy in recent weeks. In their zeal to block action, some critics of free trade have been encouraging common misperceptions with arguments that are patently false and ignore some of the most basic accepted principles of…

  • Commentary posted April 8, 2015 by James M. Roberts IMF Reformers Hold Congress in Contempt

    What's the appropriate role of the International Monetary Fund? It's a question that goes all the way back to the Bretton Woods conference of 1944, during which the IMF was created. The liberal/progressive view from Europe, pushed by John Maynard Keynes and others, envisioned the IMF as a sort of global Treasury Department/Federal Reserve Bank. IMF member countries could…

  • Commentary posted February 27, 2015 by Bryan Riley Free trade is a winner in recent elections

    In Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts and North Carolina, the midterm elections proved that candidates shouldn't be afraid to talk about the benefits of trade. They also demonstrated that candidates tempted to employ protectionist scare tactics in their campaigns should think twice. In Iowa, Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst's campaign argued: "Congressman [Bruce]…

  • Issue Brief posted February 26, 2015 by Anthony B. Kim, Charlotte Florance, Brett D. Schaefer Time to Renew and Enhance the African Growth and Opportunity Act

    The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is at a critical juncture for America’s economic engagement with Africa. The current AGOA is set to expire on September 30, 2015. Although both Congress and the Obama Administration have repeatedly expressed their intention for a “seamless” renewal, they need to act quickly and decisively to ensure that uncertainty does not…

  • Issue Brief posted February 20, 2015 by Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., James M. Roberts, Riddhi Dasgupta, PhD Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Mechanisms: An Important Feature of High-Quality Trade Agreements

    One of the most important—albeit controversial—components of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreement between the United States and the European Union (EU) is the provision creating an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. The French Senate has unanimously called for the removal of this provision both from the TTIP…

  • Commentary posted February 5, 2015 by James M. Roberts Cronyism Kills: Here’s How It Happened in Tunisia

    On December 17, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, turned to face the governor’s mansion in Sidi Bouzid—the capital of a hardscrabble farming province in central Tunisia—and set himself on fire. His last words, aimed at the government, were an anguished question: “How do you expect me to make a living?” What drove Bouazizi to this desperate act was Tunisia’s…

  • Special Report posted February 4, 2015 by Bryan Riley Trade and Prosperity in the States: The Case of Florida

    Hundreds of thousands of Floridians owe their jobs to international trade and investment. The benefits of international commerce are reflected in the voting record of the state’s congressional delegation, which overwhelmingly supported free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea in 2011. However, the state’s elected representatives have not always…

  • Commentary posted January 28, 2015 by Ambassador Terry Miller A Modest Uptick in American Economic Freedom

    A steep, seven-year decline in U.S. economic freedom has come to an end, according to the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, published Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. score in the index experienced a particularly large drop in 2009-10, pushing this country out of the “free” category and into the “mostly free” category. A slight…

  • Issue Brief posted January 23, 2015 by Bryan Riley Needed: A Congressional Mandate for Economic Freedom

    Congress will soon consider giving trade promotion authority (TPA) to the executive branch for several years, starting with hearings by the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees on January 27. TPA establishes expedited congressional procedures for handling trade agreements negotiated under its directives. Some legislators who might otherwise be inclined to…

  • Commentary posted December 3, 2014 by Brett D. Schaefer, Ambassador Terry Miller Argentina's Debt Crisis: Country Turns to UN to Avoid Accountability

    Defaulting on sovereign debt is never a good strategy.  Just ask Argentina. The South American nation has defaulted 10 times—most recently this summer—on its international obligations and has experienced sharp economic decline as a result. In the early 1900s, Argentina ranked among the world’s top 10 in per capita income. By 2012, it had fallen to 55th. Rather than…

  • Backgrounder posted November 20, 2014 by James M. Roberts The IMF’s Analysis of the U.S. Economy: Faulty Assumptions and Bad Policy Advice

    The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) 66-page report on its 2014 consultation with the U.S., pursuant to Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, repeats a number of long-standing, orthodox, and desirable policy recommendations that urge the U.S. to confront its many long-term fiscal and monetary challenges. This year’s report also contains an unprecedented…

  • Commentary posted November 18, 2014 by James M. Roberts Australia Can Lead the G20 Back to Economic Freedom

    President Obama and other G20 leaders should listen carefully this weekend (Nov. 15-16) in Brisbane, because Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has a powerful story to tell them about economic revival. Abbott hopes to focus the gathered heads of state— representing some 80 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product—on how to boost economic growth because, as he…