Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Its Role in U.S. Trade Policy [January 9, 2013] [open pdf - 339KB]
"Congress created Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to help workers and firms adjust to dislocation that may be caused by increased trade liberalization. It is justified now, as it was then, on grounds that the government has an obligation to help the 'losers' of policy-driven trade opening. In addition, TAA is presented as an alternative to policies that would restrict imports, and so provides assistance while bolstering freer trade and diminishing prospects for potentially costly tension (retaliation) among trade partners. As in the past, critics strongly debate the merits of TAA on equity, efficiency, and budgetary grounds. Nonetheless, finding agreement on TAA remains important for forging a compromise on national trade policy. This report discusses the role of TAA in U.S. trade policy from its inception as a legislative option in the early 1950s to its core role as a cornerstone of modern trade policy that many argue has served to promote the long-term U.S. trade liberalization agenda."
CRS Report for Congress, R41922