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Chasing Phantoms: The Political Economy of USTR

Marcus Noland ()

No WP97-1, Working Paper Series from Peterson Institute for International Economics

Abstract: During the last decade the US government has taken numerous bilateral actions intended to reduce other countries' border or internal regulations that were said to restrict US exports, investments, and property rights. Judging from the data for 1994-1993, USTR paid attention to countries with large bilateral trade surpluses with the US, and to those with larger and faster-growing economies, and not particularly to those with higher barriers. Washington actually took greater action, on the other hand, towards those whose identifiable barriers were high. These patterns of behavior do not appear to vary by presidential administration. Japan received more bilateral pressure than its economic characteristics would appear to warrant, but there is little evidence that this pressure had its desired effects. The US achieved greater change in countries whose economies were more dependent on the US market and on issues covered by international rules.

Date: 1997
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