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A U.S.–Japan Economic Partnership: Beyond Economics, Geopolitical Insurance

By Devin T. Stewart | November 13, 2002

In the National Interest
Article Introduction

The idea of formally integrating the world's two largest economies—Japan and the United States—has been floated every two years or so, since the 1980s. But every time the idea has been proposed, it has been rejected by a combination of trade protectionists, lobbyists and other groups representing narrow self-interests. As a consequence of this historical experience, American and Japanese policymakers tend to instinctively dismiss the idea whenever it is proposed. To date, the rationale for a comprehensive trade agreement between the United States and Japan has been to maximize complementarities of the two economies and reduce barriers to trade and investment. In other words, the argument has been economic: increased economic integration would generate stronger growth, more jobs, and more wealth for the people in both the United States and Japan.

The fundamental economic argument still applies. But a new set of circumstances makes a broad reaching Japanese-American trade agreement both more feasible and more necessary now than ever before.

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Read More: Democracy, Economy, Trade, Japan, United States, Asia

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