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Trade Threats, Trade Wars

Trade Threats, Trade Wars

By Ka Zeng
University of Michigan Press

A book by political science professor Ka Zeng examines domestic trade politics and how they determine responses to the threat of trade sanctions. “Trade Threats, Trade Wars” explores the driving forces behind trade disputes, the reasons U.S. coercive trade diplomacy has been more successful in opening markets in some of its trading partners rather than others, and the reasons trade wars more often take place between two democratic trading partners rather than between a democratic partner and an authoritarian one.

Competitive trade partners, Zeng explains, produce a similar range of commodities. In a complementary trade relationship, however, each partner produces a different set of commodities.

Zeng found that when the U.S. threatens sanctions on a trade partner, support from domestic interests influences the outcome of the situation.

The degree of support is determined by whether the relationship is competitive or complementary.

In the case of a competitive trade relationship, both export-seeking and import-competing interests are likely to support trade sanctions. In a complementary trade relationship, however, domestic support comes only from the export-seeking interests, resulting in democratic trade wars.

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