Volume XXXVII – Number 1

Christopher C. Meyerson

Abstract: While many have written on the impact of domestic politics on international relations, this article focuses on domestic politics’ impact on a lesser studied subject: trade policy.  To analyze the complex relationships between the various branches of government in a state and their impact on the process of international trade policymaking, this article applies upon Robert Putnam’s “two level game” approach. The negotiations under the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Uruguay Round Negotiations between the United States and Japan is used as a case study for an in-depth analysis and application of this expanded “two level game” approach. This analysis is divided into three main parts, an analysis of the United States’ trade policymaking, Japan’s trade policymaking, and US-Japan trade negotiations. The author considers three main hypotheses in each section regarding the influence of a potential protectionist stance taken by the national legislature on policymaking, the influence of domestic politics on trade negotiators, and finally, the influence of domestic politics on the final agreement reached, coming to the conclusion that the domestic political situations in both the United States and Japan strongly influenced their international trade policymaking.


Keywords: United States, Japan, International Trade, Economics, GATT

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