American Trade Policy: 1923-1995

By Edward S. Kaplan | Go to book overview

6
Fair Trade and the Uruguay Round

THE TRADE AND TARIFF ACT OF 1984

After the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, both the budget and trade deficits grew rapidly. The Reagan tax cuts and the increase in military spending caused the budget deficit to rise from $74 billion in 1980, Carter's last year in the presidency, to $185 billion in 1984, the end of Reagan's first term. The trade deficit in 1984 was a record $122.4 billion, up from $36.2 billion in 1980. 1 Economists blamed the trade deficit on growing budget deficits. As the budget deficit grew, so did real interest rates, causing the appreciation of the dollar. The high value of the dollar made American products very expensive compared to foreign goods, producing a ballooning trade deficit. However, the unions such as the AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers of America, among others, refused to recognize this relationship between the two deficits, and instead they called for protectionist legislation to reduce the trade deficit. 2

Despite the positive results of the Tokyo Round, the United States and other governments were concerned about the growing protectionism in the early 1980s. Only eighteen months after the Tokyo Round, the GATT Consultative Group of Eighteen (CG-18) agreed in June 1981 that a ministerial meeting should be called in Geneva in November 1982 to discuss weaknesses in the trading system. It was clear to the CG-18 that the multilateral trading system was endangered by the economic recession, especially in the United States. The major result of the meeting was that the CG-18 declared that all the contracting parties should "make a determined effort to ensure that trade policies and measures are consistent with GATT principles and rules and to resist protectionist pressures in the formulation and implementation of national trade policy." 3

At the ministerial meeting in 1982 the United States had wanted to address certain problems that had existed over the years such as opening up world agricultural markets to American farmers and modernizing the GATT by extending it into new areas such as protecting intellectual property against counterfeit goods. However, the other CG-18 members were not interested in pursuing these

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American Trade Policy: 1923-1995
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Economics and Economic History ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Background to the Hawley-Smoot Tariff 1
  • Notes 18
  • 2 - The Hawley-Smoot Tariff 38
  • 3 - The Building of a Liberal Trade Policy 43
  • Notes 60
  • 4 - The Trade Expansion Act and the Kennedy Round 65
  • Notes 86
  • 5 - The Trade Reform Act and the Tokyo Round 89
  • Notes 108
  • 6 - Fair Trade and the Uruguay Round 113
  • Notes 132
  • 7 - The North American Free Trade Agreement 137
  • Notes 156
  • 8 - A Return to Unilateralism 159
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 177
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