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A European Political-Economic Space That Embraced Japan: The International Context of the Conventional Tariff Network, CA. 1892-1914

Toshiki Kawashima

No 8, CEH Discussion Papers from Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University

Abstract: This article sheds new light on the economic globalization in Europe and Asia from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, with a special focus on the role of bilateral commercial treaties and import tariffs. Countries concluded a number of treaties in those days, and they came to form an extensive �conventional tariff network�. This mechanism contributed to the stabilization of international economic-political space by facilitating reciprocal tariff concessions. The extent of this conventional tariff network was both temporally and geographically larger than has been assumed. First, as the recent scholarship has shown, the network, which emerged in the 1860s, survived the political turbulence of the 1890s and spanned Central European countries such as Germany and Italy by the early 1910s. Second, the network spread outside Europe and reached East Asia by the 1910s, when Japan renegotiated its commercial treaties and became a new member of the network. The network embodied so strong a mechanism of self-maintenance based on the coordination of economic interests that it was resilient to a major political shock such as the First World War. While the tariff systems in Europe and in East Asia around 1900 have been separately discussed in the literature, this paper focuses on the treaty partnership between these two areas to show how the mechanism of the conventional tariff network enabled the countries to cooperate for mutual concessions on international trade.

Keywords: Commercial treaty; network; international space; conventional tariff; global economic history; Central Europe and East Asia. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-int
Date: 2018-04
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