"Congress plays a major role in U.S. trade policy through its legislative and oversight authority. Since the end of World War II, U.S. trade policy has focused on fostering an open, rules-based global trading system, liberalizing markets by reducing trade and investment barriers through negotiations and agreements, and enforcing trade commitments and related laws. International trade and investment issues can affect the overall health of the U.S. economy and specific sectors, the success of U.S. businesses, U.S. employment opportunities, and the overall standard of living of Americans. The benefits and costs of international trade and the future direction of trade policy are active areas of interest for many in Congress. This report addresses frequently asked questions regarding U.S. trade policy and is intended to assist Members and staff who may be new to trade issues. The report provides context for basic trade concepts and data on key U.S. trade and investment trends. It also addresses how U.S. trade policy is formulated and describes the trade and investment policy tools used to advance U.S. objectives."
CRS Report for Congress, R45148
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/