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U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments

U.S. State Commitments with Foreign Governments contains commitments entered into by individual U.S. states with foreign nations on topics ranging from archaeology to human rights and transportation.

Topic Overview

This database collects the full text of over 750 commitments entered into by various U.S. states with foreign governments to cooperate on issues ranging from economic development to environmental protection. Some examples of these commitments include:

These commitments and others like them offer benefits such as:

  • enabling states to address challenges that wouldn't be possible without foreign cooperation
  • avoiding the gridlock and delay that can plague federal lawmaking
  • establishing states as global participants 

But they also offer potential risks. They could:

  • generate mixed messages about U.S. foreign policy
  • conflict with federal statutes or foreign policy
  • violate Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution
  • facilitate foreign subversion of U.S. national interests

Despite these stakes, federal (and most state) law does not require states to disclose their commitments to Congress or the public.

This database represents the first attempt to collect these state commitments. Most of the 750 commitments have never before been published. Furthermore, select commitments are annotated by the editor, providing additional insight to these fascinating and little-understood documents.

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Title page of commitment between California and Quebec on cap-and-trade programs for reducing greenhouse emissions.