Free Trade Champion? Australian Views of the U.S. Trade Crusade Against Japan

by Julia F. Lowell

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U.S. policymakers claim that single-handed U.S. efforts to increase Japanese imports of foreign goods and services are benefiting exporters worldwide. But opinion on this policy is divided--the European Union and Japan have been openly critical, whereas smaller countries seem to be taking a more nuanced view. Drawing on a series of interviews with Australian government officials and business leaders, this paper explores Australian views of the U.S. measures, and considers how U.S. policies have affected Australia's export opportunities in Japan and what policy tools are available to Australia for influencing the outcomes of U.S.-Japan negotiations. It reports two opposing views: (1) Australia should counter perceived U.S. moves toward bilaterally managed trade, and (2) Australia should join with the United States in its attempts to open Japanese markets.

Originally published in: Pacific Economic Papers, no. 295, September 1999, pp. 1-25.

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