International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 112th Congress [January 21, 2011]   [open pdf - 261KB]

From the Summary: "The 112th Congress faces a full agenda of international trade and finance issues. Early in 2011, the Obama Administration is expected to ask Congress to approve a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea and possibly FTAs with Colombia and Panama. The Administration is seeking to conclude the much larger 10-year-old World Trade Organization's (WTO's) Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which, if completed, would also require congressional approval. The Administration is also negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, a regional FTA that currently includes nine countries on both sides of the Pacific. A U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) was first negotiated by President George W. Bush's Administration and signed on June 30, 2007. The Obama Administration did not submit it for approval in the 111th Congress due to opposition from U.S. automakers and beef producers. In early December 2010, U.S. trade negotiators won further concessions on autos from the South Korean government, which may allow President Obama to decide to submit the agreement to Congress in 2011. Any vote on this proposed agreement would take place under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which allows implementing bills for trade agreements to be considered under expedited legislative procedures--limited debate, no amendments, and an up or down vote. While the proposed KORUS FTA is covered by TPA, which expired on July 1, 2007, many experts argue that TPA would have to be renewed if the United States is to be a credible negotiator at the WTO Doha Round and the TPP discussions. Any trade debate in the 112th Congress will likely revolve around the perceived effects of trade and FTAs on U.S. stakeholders. Proponents are likely to argue that the FTAs will improve access to foreign markets, increase trade, and create jobs. Critics are likely to assert that the agreements favor corporations over workers, and place downward pressure on wages and labor standards."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41553
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