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So-called „unequal“ treaties have often put forward unfavourable clauses that have greatly favoured the other party and weakened Japanese sovereignty. These trade agreements have shown successive Japanese governments how lagging behind the rest of the world. They played a central role in Japan`s rapid modernization phase, known as the Meiji-Restauration. From the 1930s to the 1980s, the fundamental political divide of the United States in trade was economic. Workers and businesses threatened by commercial competition supported the increase in trade barriers; Those who saw gains wanted to reduce them. The former, faced with losses, being more politically active, U.S. negotiators had to look for „trade winners“ (exporters, international investors) and engage them politically. They also used broader arguments by citing economists` estimates of the overall benefits of trade and highlighting international political gains. And they have repeatedly warned against the „slippery slope“ of protectionism. On the whole, free trade advocates have prevailed, although there have been periods (such as the 1980s) when heavy imports posed a serious protectionist threat. But in this election year, political support is fading, especially among Republicans and even Senate Republicans, who are pulling out of a combination of economic and political motivations.

The two leading GOP presidential candidates are vocal critics of trade deals, as are Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Traditional Republican free market advocates such as House of Representatives spokesman Paul Ryan are increasingly single for free trade. A free trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is a multinational agreement under international law to create a free trade area between cooperating states. Free trade agreements, a form of trade pacts, set tariffs and tariffs on imports and exports by countries, with the aim of reducing or removing barriers to trade and thereby promoting international trade. [1] These agreements „generally focus on a chapter with preferential tariff treatment,“ but they often contain „trade facilitation and regulatory clauses in areas such as investment, intellectual property, public procurement, technical standards, and health and plant health issues.“ [2] Between 1950 and 1973, world trade increased by 8.2% in real terms and helped many countries recover from the ravages of World War II. While technological progress has of course played a key role in the development of international trading networks, political will has been equally important. Prior to the signing of the agreement, Japan`s only foreign trade with the Netherlands and China was exclusively in Nagasaki and under strict state control. Although the Kanagawa Agreement did not immediately result in a significant increase in trade, it resulted in the subsequent signing of many other treaties between Japan and other Western powers. At the same time, removing barriers to international trade could create more opportunities. While tariffs have decreased significantly over time, non-tariff barriers, such as regulation and technical standards, can often create greater barriers.

„Areas that are ready for improvement include strengthening intellectual property rights in developing countries, implementing a more coherent approach to managing the unfair benefits of so-called enterprises, and removing unnecessary restrictions on foreign investment,“ said Christine McDaniel, senior Research Fellow at George Mason University.