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  • Everybody seems to be talking about the possibility of a trade war.

  • But trade wars are nothing new. They've happened before.

  • So we're here at the IMF library in Washington to see what we can learn from history.

  • Hello, how are you?

  • I'm Elizabeth.

  • Pleased to meet you.

  • Excited for our history lesson today.

  • We sat down with Harold James.

  • He's a Princeton professor who's also writing the official history of the IMF.

  • In a sense it's good starting here in the IMF with the discussion of trade wars because

  • that's exactly what the IMF was set up to deal with in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference.

  • One of the big narratives at least was that the Great Depression had its origins in a trade conflict.

  • It started with a tariff in the United States, the Hawley-Smoot tariff.

  • The Smoot-Hawley tariff was named after two U.S. lawmakers: Reed Smoot and Willis Hawley.

  • It started off as a tariff to protect American farmers.

  • And then it went through Congress, and every Congressman wanted to add

  • something on for their district. And so it became this immense,

  • compendium of tariffs on more or less any product that you could think of.

  • So was the thinking, OK, we're going to put a tariff on silk from Japan

  • and then people will buy more silk in our region?

  • That's exactly right. Make foreign products more expensive

  • so that Americans will buy American products.

  • But it didn't work?

  • It didn't work because of the retaliation. It had very, very destructive consequences.

  • It made goods actually expensive for ordinary people.

  • After the Smoot-Hawley trade war, countries starting negotiating trade agreements

  • to remove tariffs and commit not to raise them again.

  • From the 1950s to 2012 or 2013, every year world trade grew more

  • than world industrial production. So people were trading more and more.

  • But that didn't mean the end of trade wars.

  • Take, for example, the so-calledChicken Warin the 1960s.

  • Europeans, especially Germans, liked cheap American frozen chicken, and so they were buying a lot of it.

  • That didn't make Germany's own chicken farmers too happy.

  • So Europeans taxed American chickens, and then Americans did they retaliate?

  • Yep, in other areas, and then they were upset about that.

  • The U.S. responded with tariffs on some European exports,

  • like the commercial versions of Germany's famous Volkswagen buses.

  • In fact thechicken taxon some foreign trucks still exists today.

  • But Professor James told us not all trade spats end badly.

  • He said think of trade disputes between Japan and the U.S. in the 1980s.

  • At the time, Japan was exporting more and more consumer products to the U.S.

  • For example, Japanese autos represented 6% of the U.S. car market in 1973 and a whopping 21% by 1980.

  • The U.S. wanted to lower its trade deficit with Japan, so it put tariffs on some of those products.

  • The tariffs gave the U.S. leverage to negotiate new trade agreements.

  • You don't necessarily end with this kind of catastrophe.

  • Big picture look, as a historian, as an expert in this is there one sort take away, you would say say,

  • from these trade wars going back in recent history?

  • Trade wars in general are really disruptive and destructive. They can tip the world back into recession.

  • But trade spats occur all the time.

  • So the question is, you need an institutional framework to negotiate those trade spats.

  • Otherwise it can escalate very quickly?

  • Yes, I think that's the big lesson of this history.

  • Hey everyone, it's Elizabeth. Thanks so much for watching.

  • Be sure to check out more of our videos over here.

  • We're also always taking your suggestions for future stories

  • so leave any ideas in the comments section.

  • And while you're at it, subscribe to our channel.

  • See you later!

Everybody seems to be talking about the possibility of a trade war.

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世界の貿易戦争の歴史(略)|CNBCレポート (A (brief) history of the world's trade wars | CNBC Reports)

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    kstmasa に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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