Making US Trade and Investment Policies Work for Global Development

Robert Z. Lawrence (PIIE) and Terra Lawson-Remer (University of Bologna)

Policy Brief
16-21
November 2016
Photo Credit: 
REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

This Policy Brief reviews US trade and investment policy programs focused on global development, such as the Generalized System of Preferences and the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and concludes that many are not realizing their full potential. The authors discuss seven pragmatic but transformative initiatives that could build on past policy successes and help unlock development for the world’s poor. Their proposals include broadening the coverage of US trade preferences for less developed countries to more products, modifying preference terms to encourage product diversification and value addition, improving the conditionality mechanisms under which preferences are granted, and strengthening the links between investment frameworks and development policy objectives. Each of these proposals presents political considerations that must be taken into account if they are to be implemented.