Remaking U.S. Trade Policy

Remaking U.S. Trade Policy: From Protectionism to Globalization

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 256
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Remaking U.S. Trade Policy
    Book Description:

    The emergence of globalization was neither accidental nor inevitable. To make the "free flow" of commodities, capital, and money possible, governments first had to introduce a new political infrastructure. In Remaking U.S. Trade Policy, Nitsan Chorev focuses on trade liberalization in the United States from the 1930s to the present as she explores the political origins of today's global economy.

    The ability of the U.S. government to impose its preferences on other governments is an important part of the story of globalization, but what is central to Chorev's analysis is understanding why the nation's leaders supported trade liberalization in the first place. For Chorev, the explanation lies in domestic political struggles. Advocates of free trade prevailed in the struggle with protectionists by working to change the institutions governing trade policy, replacing institutional arrangements that favored protectionism with new ones that favored a free-market approach.

    The new institutional arrangements shifted authority from a protectionist Congress to liberal agencies at the executive branch and to the World Trade Organization. These transformations entailed a move from a politicized location, in which direct negotiations and debates dominate the process of decision-making, to bureaucratic and judicial arenas where a legal logic dominates and the citizens have little voice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6045-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Nitsan Chorev
  4. Abbreviations for Archival Documents
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Chapter One The Politics of Globalization
    (pp. 1-18)

    One of the initial and persistent images of the current process of globalization has been the free flow of commodities across borders.¹ Rather than national producers providing for domestic consumers, economic globalization entails a radical increase in the consumption of commodities produced elsewhere. In the year 2000, Americans consumed $9.3 billion worth of imported vegetables and fruits, $14.9 billion worth of imported shoes, and $161.7 billion worth of imported cars. In the same year, American manufacturers exported $11.1 billion worth of cereals and $10.9 billion worth of paper. Americans consumed $14.7 billion worth of imported pharmaceutical products at the same...

  6. Chapter Two Institutions in Domestic and International Politics
    (pp. 19-39)

    Globalization is (also) a political project. The formation and development of the global economy have entailed political struggles over the rules governing global economic activity. Of great importance were political struggles over the institutional reorganization of states and international organizations. I show that internationalist businesses have won liberal trade policies by introducing institutional arrangements biased in their favor. The institutions that emerged are of a particular kind: policymaking at both the domestic and international levels have become increasingly bureaucratized and legalized.

    To appreciate the role of institutions in bringing globalization about, in this chapter I offer a general theory of...

  7. Chapter Three Selective Protectionism, 1934–74
    (pp. 40-68)

    The United States was not always a champion of free trade principles. Rather, throughout the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries the U.S. government faithfully adhered to the demands of its protectionist farmers and manufacturers and kept tariffs systematically high. By the mid 1940s, however, protectionism has become an exception to policies determined by liberal principles. Consequently, a steady liberalization of trade practices occurred in the post–World War II era, with tariffs on imported goods reduced from a high of 52.8 percent in 1930 to 9.9 percent in 1967.

    Postwar liberalism in the United States is often explained as...

  8. Chapter Four The Origins of Conditional Protectionism
    (pp. 69-103)

    Selective protectionism survived for forty years, but the economic recession of the late 1960s led to its demise. Because of the new economic conditions, many manufacturing industries faced stiff international competition and turned protectionist. In their turn, manufacturers who were potentially competitive in the international market pressed for greatly improved access to foreign markets, demanding “fair” trade from U.S. trading partners. The clash between protectionists and internationalists was therefore inevitable, and protectionists, at least initially, had the upper hand. Most spectacularly, when the administration failed to negotiate voluntary restraint agreements on behalf of the textile and apparel industries, Congress initiated...

  9. Chapter Five Conditional Protectionism, 1974–94
    (pp. 104-148)

    In the previous chapter I showed that the Trade Act of 1974 intended to weaken protectionism. But was the plan successful? Could the modified trade remedy laws curb protectionism? Many trade scholars characterize the 1980s in the United States as a period of “new” protectionism, but others convincingly showed that the heightened protectionist sentiments elicited only a relatively restrained response by the government and that the most vehement protectionist claims were successfully filtered out. Still, was the curbing of protectionism due to the new institutional regime created in the Trade Act of 1974? Some trade scholars argue that the decline...

  10. Chapter Six Legalized Multilateralism, 1994–2004
    (pp. 149-194)

    The process of trade liberalization in the United States is a story of political struggles and institutional shifts, both at the domestic and the international levels. Until the 1990s, the more challenging site of struggle for U.S. protectionist industries was at the domestic level. While internationalists had the upper hand, protectionists did gain some important concessions, and they could trust the U.S. administration to successfully secure those concessions in the international negotiations. The ability of the United States to impose protectionist exceptions on others stemmed from its economic position: the size of its market made access to the United States...

  11. Conclusion: Globalization as an Institutional Project
    (pp. 195-210)

    In the previous chapters I offered an account of the evolution of free-trade policies and practices in the United States. I showed how changes in the institutional arrangements in place caused a gradual shift toward free trade by substantively transforming the matrix of influence of state and nonstate actors. Supporters of liberal trade—among them exporters, users of imported goods, investors in foreign markets, and U.S.-based multinational companies—undermined protectionist opposition by modifying those domestic and international institutional arrangements that were harmful to their expansionist interests. Among a variety of biased arrangements that shaped the political leverage of interested groups...

  12. References
    (pp. 211-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-242)