U.S. Trade Policy
The Emergence of Regional and Bilateral Alternatives to Multilateralism

Papers and StudiesHistorical Overview of Postwar U.S. Trade Policy

From the 1940’s, when the postwar multilateral trading system was founded around the truncated provisions of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), to the mid-1980s, the United States steadfastly opposed derogations from most favored national status (MFN) obligations and, therefore, most regional trading arrangements (Cold War exigencies account for the exception regarding the formation and growth of the European Community). Essentially, the U.S. adhered to a two-track trade policy: (1) multilateralism, embodied in its membership in the GATT and in its leadership in eight rounds of trade-liberalizing GATT negotiations; and (2) unilateralism-bilateralism, dictated by the substantive reality that GATT did not cover key trading sectors, and thus powerful domestic interests demanded that U.S. political leaders pursue independent bilateral negotiations--particularly with Japan and the EC--to achieve trade policy goals beyond multilateral disciplines. Unilateralism was linked directly to bilateral negotiations as the U.S. also reserved the right to act on its own by enforcing its will should bilateral negotiations fail.

Download file Click here to view this paper as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Claude Barfield is a resident scholar and directory of science and technology policy studies at AEI.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Claude
Barfield

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.