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Comparison of Trade Rivalries
The German-Great Britain trade rivalry like the U.S.-Japan
trade rivalry involved a rising power cutting into the trade of
an already dominant trading power. There were several causes of the
German-Great Britain trade rivalry according to Hoffman. The first was
German’s industry’s zeal in procuring new contracts and expanding
markets. They did this by fulfilling contracts even if they were very
small and constantly trying to stay up with market demand. Second,
Germans had a knowledge of languages that the English firms lacked.
Third, German industry was aided by their government. In contrast
Great Britain did not even supply consular assistance in helping
develop markets in British colonies. Fourth, British trade was hurt by
the conservatism of British manufacturers who were unwilling to
develop new markets or hold onto those it already possessed. These
four factors are just some of the factors that helped German industry
grow and rival that of Great Britain.
These four factors are all very similar to the Japan-U.S.
trade rivalry. Japan like Germany was able to catch up to the U.S.
because the U.S. was large and arrogant and refused to believe it
could face competition from Japan. Like Britain, U.S. industry
believed that they could hold onto markets and would not face
competition. British and U.S. industry were startled by the fast rate
of growth and industrialization that allowed Germany and Japan to
transform themselves quickly into trading rivals. This fast rate of
growth also caused friction between both sets of countries. Relations
between Germany and Great Britain were damaged as they bickered over
markets in particular colonies in Africa . This is similar to the
friction between the U.S. and Japan unfair trading practices and
Both the U.S. and Great Britain in response to losing markets
toyed with the idea of economic nationalism and tariffs. As Britain
lost markets to Germany many in Britain felt that Britain should adopt
tariffs on goods while others known as the free traders believed that
a free trade would benefit Britain by creating markets. This split
between Tariff Reformers and Free Traders is similar to the split in
the U.S. between those in favor of free trade and those opposed to it.
Germany’s grab for new markets in the 1890’s through commercial
treaties such as the 1891 treaty with Austria-Hungry is similar to
both the United States and Japan’s free trade zones with neighboring
countries using treaties such as ASEAN and NAFTA.
The German-Great Britain trade rivalry is different then the
U.S.-Japan trade rivalry because a large sector of Japan’s market for
selling goods is the United States who it is competing against; this
was not true of Germany. Both Britain and Germany were competing for
markets outside of both their countries. Also the trade rivalry
between Japan and the United States did not involve a fight over
colonies. Trade rivalries between rising and dominant powers change
little over time. The German-British trade rivalry and the Japan U.S.
rivalry were very similar in their causes, effects, and the solutions
that both sets of governments used to overcome their trading rival.
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