International Trade and Finance: A North American Perspective

By Khosrow Fatemi | Go to book overview

VIII
ECONOMIC RELATIONS BETWEEN NORTH AMERICA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD

One of the most important factors affecting any country's foreign economic relations is the parity of its currency with other currencies. In the case of the United States, the dollar has fluctuated substantially during the 1980s, particularly the latter part of the decade. In fact, during the two-year period following its peak in September 1985, the dollar depreciated by as much as 50 percent against other major currencies. This situation should have eliminated, or at least substantially reduced, the United States' overall trade deficit. In reality, the U.S. trade deficit continues to increase, both in the aggregate as well as with individual trading partners. In Chapter 16, Robert Carbaugh discusses one such case, that is U.S. trade relations with Japan. He provides an elaboration of the factors that have contributed to the continued, in fact expanding, U.S. trade deficit. He examines the recent trend and argues that any narrowing of the U.S. trade deficit, through currency pass-throughs and the J-curve, would occur only after significant time lags.

In Chapter 17, George Tesar and Jerome Laurent discuss economic relations with another region of the world, that is the presence of Eastern European products in North American markets. Specifically, this chapter provides an examination of current developments in the management of technology and marketing techniques that Eastern European economies are utilizing in their attempt to secure a share of the North American market. Based on their evaluation of the five areas critical to successful marketing, the authors have concluded that Eastern European countries do not yet have the internal capability to deal with the sophistication of the North American market; and, until such capabilities are achieved, the impact of Eastern European competition in the North American markets will remain insignificant.

In Chapter 18, Mohamed T. Vaziri investigates the recent trends in economic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China. His study is focused on U.S. trade policy toward China as well as China's trade and investment formulae. The important question is whether expanded relations with the world's most populated country will have a significant impact on U.S. relations with its present trading partners. After all, the Chinese market contains more than 20 percent of the global population, and attempts at industrializing the country could provide an ever expanding market for U.S. high-tech products. To pay for their imports, the Chinese will have to expand their exports, and a logical choice will be the world's largest consumer market, the United States.

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