Law, Politics, and Trade Policy: Lessons from East Asia (Gen Ed 1119)





Must the East Asian Growth Miracle always lead to trade wars or can international law bring cooperation?


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Christina Davis

How do states balance the challenges and opportunities of international markets? Importing ideas and resources while exporting manufactured goods underlies the East Asian growth miracle but also builds conflict with other governments. This course examines the transformative role of trade policy for Japan, Korea, and China. From the “unequal treaties” of the nineteenth century to the World Trade Organization today, trade law binds the interactions between East Asia and the world. Japan grew from an isolated samurai nation to a leading economic power but now confronts stagnating growth. Korea relied on business conglomerates for rapid industrialization and embraced liberalization to steer its way out of financial crisis. China turned to the WTO to anchor domestic economic reforms but now faces U.S. resistance to its export dominance. East Asia offers models of the success and problems that accompany globalization.

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