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Domestic Political Preconditions of US Trade Policy: Liberal Structure and Protectionist Dynamics

Douglas Nelson
Journal of Public Policy
Vol. 9, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1989), pp. 83-108
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4007220
Page Count: 26
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Domestic Political Preconditions of US Trade Policy: Liberal Structure and Protectionist Dynamics
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Abstract

This paper examines the set of norms, rules and institutions (the regime) which regulate the domestic politics of international trade policy in the US. It is particularly concerned to explain the simultaneous occurrence of successful participation in multilateral trade liberalization in the GATT and rising levels of protection via the administered protection mechanisms (e.g. anti-dumping and countervailing duty, and escape clause). The explanation of this phenomenon is the development of a new institutional definition of trade policy that permitted executive dominance of trade policy, in conjunction with a changed perception of the role of trade policy by the executive branch. Specifically, it is argued that post-war executives (at least until Reagan) came to associate trade policy with broader foreign policy goals.

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