U.S. Foreign Policy and Trade In this work, we examine how United States foreign policy impacts on U.S. trade relations. How do the objectives of U.S. foreign policy affect U.S. trade relations with Latin America?…
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Overview A country’s trade policy unavoidably implements a country’s foreign policy. This is because, at minimum, international trade reflects state recognition. This fact alone circumscribes foreign trade policy under a country’s overall foreign policy. In international trade, goods and services are exchanged. Conventional economic theories on international trade say that international trade promotes development and development in turn promotes equity consistent with Kuznets’s inverted U hypothesis (Todaro and Smith, 212). The choice of trade partners always implies a choice what countries the U.S. wants to have accelerated development. At the same time, trade has its own dynamics. The World Trade Organization, for example, was established precisely to depoliticize trade and make trade subject to multilateral rules rather than beholden to the unilateral rules of powerful nations. Although U.S. foreign trade policy will always be an extension of her overall foreign policy, international trade has its own dynamics and can influence or even subvert U.S. foreign policy. This means, for example that US influence can decrease as multilateral trade organizations assert their collective decisions even if the original intent of U.S. foreign policy is for the U.S. to increase its influence through the promotion of the policy. U.S. Foreign Policy and Trade with Latin America Latin America is the “largest supplier of foreign oil to the United States and a strong partner in the development of alternative fuels” (Barshefsky et al., xi). The country is also “the biggest supplier of illegal drugs” into the United States (Barshefsky et al., xi). Moreover, “Latin America is also the largest source of U.S. immigrants, both documented and not” (Barshefsky et al., xi). Thirty percent of U.S. oil imports come from Latin America compared to only 20 percent from the Middle East (Barshefsky et al., 6). Latinos constitute about 15% of the U.S. population (Barshefsky et al. 6). For the said reasons, Latin America is extremely important for the U.S. as well as a significant source of problems. It is important for America to influence Latin America but Barshefsky and colleagues emphasized that “the era of the United States as the dominant influence in Latin America is over” (xi). Latin American regard for U.S. “global and hemispheric leadership is at its lowest level” (Barshefsky et al., 7). This is shown by data: Latin Americans who favor U.S. political ideas were only 29 percent in 2007 compared to a high 45 percent several years ago in 2002 (Barshefsky et al., 7). The Monroe Doctrine provided the guiding principle for U.S. policy on Latin America for more than 150 years (Barshefsky et al., 5). The Monroe Doctrine asserts U.S. power in Latin America but U.S. policy for Latin America can no longer work under that assumption in view of changes in the political situation, particularly with regard to U.S. dominance over the region (Barshefsky et al., 5). Barshefsky and colleagues pointed out that “if there was an era of U.S. hegemony in Latin America, it is over” (5). During the years in which the U.S. enjoyed hegemony in Latin America, particularly from 1996 to 2006, “total merchandise trade in Latin America grew by 139 percent, compared to 96 percent for Asia and 95 percent for the European Union (EU)” (Barshefsky et al., 6). During the 1980s, as the Cold War started to subside, U.S. policy in Latin America moved from “
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