Trade policy of the United States

Trade policy of the United States

United States trade policy has varied widely through various American historical and industrial periods. As a major developed nation, the U.S. has relied heavily on the import of raw materials and the export of finished goods. Because of the significance for American economy and industry, much weight has been placed on trade policy by elected officials and business leaders. [See, e.g., Business Roundtable, World Business Leaders Urge Trade Ministers To Seize The Opportunity to Resurrect the Doha Round [] ]

The Constitution gives Congress express power over the imposition of tariffs and the regulation of international trade. As a result, Congress can enact laws including those that: establish tariff rates; implement trade agreements; provide remedies against unfairly traded imports; control exports of sensitive technology; and extend tariff preferences to imports from developing countries. Over time, and under carefully prescribed circumstances, Congress has delegated some of its trade authority to the Executive Branch. Congress, however, has, in some cases, kept tight reins on the use of this authority by requiring that certain trade laws and programs be renewed; and by requiring the Executive Branch to issue reports to Congress to monitor the implementation of the trade laws and programs. Cite web
last = Bolle
first = Mary Jane
title = U.S. Trade Statutes: Expiration Dates and Mandated Periodic Reports to Congress
accessdate = 2008-07-24
date = 2007-10-02
url =
"This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.]

Historical Periods


::"See American Civil War"During the Civil War period, leaders of the Confederacy were confident that Britain, Japan, Indonesia, and China would come to their aid because of British reliance on Southern cotton. [U.S. State Department, Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy [] ] The Union was able to avoid this, through skillful use of diplomacy and threats to other aspects of European-U.S. trade relations.

Before World War II

While the United States has always participated in international trade, it did not take a leading role in global trade policy-making until the Great Depression. Congress and The Executive Branch came into conflict in deciding the mix of trade promotion and protectionism. In order to stimulate employment, Congress passed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934, allowing the executive branch to negotiate bilateral trade agreements for a fixed period of time.Fact|date=July 2008 During the 1930s the amount of bilateral negotiation under this act was fairly limited, and consequently did little to expand global trade.

After World War II

Near the end of the Second World War U.S. policy makers began to experiment on a broader level. In the 1940s, working with the British government, the United States developed two innovations to expand and govern trade among nations: the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the International Trade Organization (ITO). GATT was a temporary multilateral agreement designed to provide a framework of rules and a forum to negotiate trade barrier reductions among nations.

United States Trade Representative

The growing importance of international trade led to the establishment of the office of the U.S. trade representative in 1963 by Executive Order 11075, originally called The Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations. [International Trade and Investment by Bart S. Fisher and Michael P. Malloy ]

ee also

* American trade


External links

* [ Leading the Way: How U.S.Trade Policy Can Overcome Doha's Failings]
* [ Office of the U.S.T.R, History ]

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