Presidential Authority Over Trade, & More from CRS

12.14.16 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Trump transition team has promised vaguely that the incoming Administration will deliver “a seismic and transformative shift in trade policy.”

But executive authority over trade policy exists within a framework of law, as a new report from the Congressional Research Service explains, and there are legal limits to what the President can do.

“The United States Constitution gives Congress the power to impose and collect taxes, tariffs, duties, and the like, and to regulate international commerce. While the Constitution gives the President authority to negotiate international agreements, it assigns him no specific power over international commerce and trade.”

“Through legislation, however, Congress may delegate some of its power to the President, such as the power to modify tariffs under certain circumstances. Thus, because the President does not possess express constitutional authority to modify tariffs, he must find authority for tariff-related action in statute.” See Presidential Authority over Trade: Imposing Tariffs and Duties, December 9, 2016.

Other new and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The Federal Budget Deficit and the Business Cycle, CRS Insight, December 9, 2016

“Fiscal Space” and the Federal Budget, CRS Insight, December 9, 2016

Creating a Federal Advisory Committee in the Executive Branch, updated December 9, 2016

Changing the Senate Cloture Rule at the Start of a New Congress, December 12, 2016

Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, December 9, 2016

Commercial Space Industry Launches a New Phase, December 12, 2016

Password Sharing May Be a Federal Crime: Nosal Part I (and II), CRS Legal Sidebar, December 9, 2016