On the Evolution of U.S. Trade Agreements: Evidence from Taussig’s Tariff Commission
Bowdoin College - Department of Economics
March 14, 2011
Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 475-483, June 2011
The first chairman of the U.S. Tariff Commission, Frank W. Taussig, expected the new body to put an end to “haphazard” and “irresponsible” management of trade policy. Reforming trade agreements was a top priority. In 1922, acting on the Commission’s weighty report, Reciprocity and Commercial Treaties (1919), the State Department initiated a trade-agreements policy centered on the unconditional form of the most-favored-nation (MFN) principle. But after observing the program for a decade, Taussig urged that “the whole present policy should be scrapped.” This essay examines the evolution of U.S. trade agreements from 1919 to 1932 and the reasons for Taussig’s disaffection.
Keywords: Frank W.Taussig, Reciprocity, Tariff Commission, Trade Agreements
JEL Classification: B15, B25, B31, F13Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 23, 2011
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