The Nixon Shock after Forty Years: the Import Surcharge Revisited
47 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2012 Last revised: 26 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 2012
On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon closed the gold window and imposed a 10 percent surcharge on all dutiable imports in an effort to force other countries to revalue their currencies against the dollar. The import surcharge was lifted four months later after the Smithsonian agreement led to new exchange rate parities. This paper examines the political, economic, and legal issues surrounding the import surcharge. This historical episode may shed light on the possible use of trade sanctions as part of the effort to get China to allow the renminbi to appreciate more rapidly.
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