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Congressional Trade Votes: From NAFTA Approval to Fast Track Defeat

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  • Robert E. Baldwin
  • Christopher S. Magee

Abstract

The unwillingness of the US House of Representatives to renew fast-track authority in 1997 and 1998 means that further trade liberalization for the United States is likely to slow down or grind to a halt, since negotiators elsewhere know that any agreements reached could be modified by the US Congress. This political impasse raises several overarching questions: Does the status of fast track represent a temporary or a permanent setback in the postwar trend toward freer trade? Is it due simply to lax efforts in mobilizing groups that support trade liberalization, or is US trade policy becoming more protectionist? More generally, what were the most important economic and social factors shaping congressional voting on trade legislation in the 1990s? How do these factors differ for the various trade bills Congress considered over this period? * Baldwin and Magee attempt to answer these questions by analyzing three key trade bills: NAFTA in 1993; the legislation implementing the Uruguay Round agreements in 1994; and the House bill seeking to renew fast-track authority in 1998. The authors provide a brief legislative history of each, and then outline a conceptual framework for their analysis. Focusing on district and state economic conditions, ideological leanings, and campaign contributions, they find both predictable and surprising relationships in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Baldwin & Christopher S. Magee, 2000. "Congressional Trade Votes: From NAFTA Approval to Fast Track Defeat," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa59, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:piiepa:pa59
    Note: Policy Analyses in International Economics 59
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    Cited by:

    1. Im Hyejoon & Sung Hankyoung, 2011. "Empirical Analyses of U.S. Congressional Voting on Recent FTA," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-37, December.
    2. Larch Mario & Lechthaler Wolfgang, 2011. "Comparative Advantage and Skill-Specific Unemployment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-58, April.
    3. Claude BARFIELD, 2009. "Politics of Trade in the USA and in the Obama Administration: Implications for Asian Regionalism," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(2), pages 227-243.
    4. Baban Hasnat & Charles Callahan, 2002. "A political economic analysis of Congressional voting on permanent normal trade relations of China," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(7), pages 465-468.
    5. J. Broz, 2008. "Congressional voting on funding the international financial institutions," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 351-374, December.
    6. Massoud Tansa G. & Magee Christopher S., 2012. "Trade and Political, Military, and Economic Relations," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-39, May.
    7. John Francis & Yuqing Zheng, 2011. "Trade liberalization, unemployment and adjustment: evidence from NAFTA using state level data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(13), pages 1657-1671.
    8. Christopher Sean Patrick Magee, 2010. "Would NAFTA have been Approved by the House of Representatives under President Bush? Presidents, Parties, and Trade Policy," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 382-395, May.
    9. Bradford, Scott, 2006. "Protection and unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 257-271, July.

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