Colloquium - Ho-Fung Hung

November 16, 2017

The Origins of Globalization Revisited:
The Case of Clinton's U-Turn on US-China Trade, 1993-94

In the midst of an economic crisis in 1993, the Chinese government struggled to reorient the economy to export-driven growth, targeting the US market which has been the largest absorber of East Asian manufactures exports since the 1960s. But in 1993, different factions of the US political establishment – organized labor, different business sectors, foreign policy idealists and realists, etc., were divided over the question of free trade with China (and free trade in general). In this new and ongoing research, I combine sources from the US and China to delineate the surgical lobbying efforts that the Chinese government undertook to shape the balance between pro-trade and anti-trade forces within the US political economy. These efforts, combined with the institutional change in the American state, led to Washington’s embrace of free trade with China as epitomized by Clinton’s unconditional renewal of China’s Most Favored Nation status in 1994. This research shows that the historical rise of free trade was not a linear, inevitable process pre-determined by some structural forces of capitalism as many suggest. Instead, it was as much a result of many contingent and eventful political processes cutting across Global North and South.   

Key Speaker/Guest of Event: 
Ho-Fung Hung
Affliation/Title of Key Speaker/Guest: 
Henry M. & Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Associate Professor in Political Economy, Department of Sociology, The John Hopkins University
Event Location: 
Gibson Hall 211
Date of event: 
Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 3:30pm