U.S.-Japan and U.S.-China trade conflict: Export growth, reciprocity, and the international trading system
First Japan and more recently China have pursued export-oriented growth strategies. While other Asian countries have done likewise, Japan and China are of particular interest because their economies are so large and the size of the associated bilateral trade imbalances with the United States so conspicuous. In this paper we focus on U.S. efforts to restore the reciprocal GATT/WTO market-access bargain in the face of such large imbalances and the significant spillovers to the international trading system. The paper highlights similarities and differences in the two cases. We describe U.S. attempts to reduce the bilateral imbalances through targeted trade policies intended to slow growth of U.S. imports from these countries or increase growth of U.S. exports to them. We then examine how these trade policy responses, as well as U.S. efforts to address what were perceived as underlying causes of the imbalances, influenced the evolution of the international trading system. Finally, we compare the macroeconomic conditions associated with the bilateral trade imbalances and their implications for the conclusions of the two episodes.
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