Implications of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act

by Leo Spier



President John F. Kennedy, in his acknowledgement of rising free world interdependence, refers to the Trade Expansion Act (TEA) as probably the most significant piece of legislation in 1962. It is designed to "promote the general welfare, foreign policy, and security of the U.S. through international trade agreements. and through adjustment assistance to domestic industry, agriculture, and labor, and for other purposes." This new concept of interdependence underlies the gradual departure of the U.S. from its classical political and economic isolationism to a more liberal attitude as expressed in the Trade Expansion Act. The importance of the act may be shown by a brief inquiry into the historical events that led to the new attitude. It is true that expansion of trade is becoming an increasingly vital part of the American economy. However, the antiquated method of independent pursuit of the goal hidden in the "interdependent message" of the TEA does not solve the problem, but complicates it. There is great need for immediate revision of, TEA by the Administration to indicate a real intention to S-operate, and careful enactment of other measures that would facilitate international trade.

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