Trade wars & currency conflict: China, Japan, and South Korea's responses to U.S. protectionism, 1971-2013
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What political and economic factors have led Northeast Asian nations to react to U.S.-initiated trade and currency disputes differently? This dissertation analyzes the causes of the similarities and the divergence among the three countries in their trade and currency conflicts with the United States from 1971 to 2013. It argues that the divergence in the three countries' policy reactions to U.S. protectionist pressures can be best explained by differences in the political systems and bureaucratic decision-making structures of foreign economic policy and monetary policy. My research design is a small-n comparative research project, utilizing process tracing as well as regression analysis. It is based on two years of on-site fieldwork on the government decision-making systems of China, Japan, and South Korea. The dissertation develops in-depth case studies of each country's bilateral trade conflicts with the United States, as identified by disputes involving the United States International Trade Commission, the United States Department of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the World Trade Organization, as well as bilateral negotiations on currency appreciation carried out at the ministerial level. It also demonstrates causal linkages between trade and currency disputes, two related issues that are not addressed together in most of the international political economy literature.