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U.S. Trade Policy and the Pacific Rim, from Fordney-McCumber to the Trade Expansion Act of 1962: A Political-Economic Analysis

Aug 2007
Working Paper
07-001
By  Sandy Ye
From 1922 to 1962, United States trade policies changed dramatically, marked in the beginning by the heightening of protectionism and then the mobilization toward trade liberalization. The effect of these policies on the Pacific Rim, however, has been little studied. This paper investigates the extent to which U.S. trade policies during this period impacted the Pacific Rim economies differently from the rest of the world. Empirical analysis demonstrates that U.S. trade with the Pacific Rim had consistently higher tariff barriers than U.S. trade with the rest of the world. This paper then analyzes the reasons behind this phenomenon from both a political economy and a historical perspective. On both fronts, the Pacific Rim was at a disadvantage, and its higher barrier to trade with the U.S. was by no means historically accidental.