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Policy Issues

Treaties and International Agreements

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Treaties and other international agreements are written agreements between sovereign states (or between states and international organizations) governed by international law.  The United States enters into more than 200 treaties and other international agreements each year.

The subjects of treaties span the whole spectrum of international relations: peace, trade, defense, territorial boundaries, human rights, law enforcement, environmental matters, and many others. As times change, so do treaties. In 1796, the United States entered into the Treaty with Tripoli to protect American citizens from kidnapping and ransom by pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2001, the United States agreed to a treaty on cybercrime.

Read more about what specific bureaus are doing to support this policy issue:

Office of Treaty Affairs (L/T): The Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs, within the Office of the Legal Adviser, provides guidance on all aspects of U.S. and international treaty law and practice. It manages the process under which the Department of State approves the negotiation and conclusion of all international agreements to which the U.S. will become a party. It also coordinates with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on issues involving the Senate’s advice and consent to ratification of treaties. Read more about the Office of Treaty Affairs

U.S. Department of State

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