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Riding the Tigers: American Commercial Diplomacy in Asia (A Study Group Report)

Editor: James J. Shinn
Authors: Raymond J. Albright, Robbin S. Johnson, David J. Rothkopf, and Christopher B. Johnstone

Riding the Tigers: American Commercial Diplomacy in Asia (A Study Group Report) - riding-the-tigers-american-commercial-diplomacy-in-asia-a-study-group-report
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Publisher A CFR Book

Release Date February 1998

Price $5.00 hardcover

ISBN 0-87609-218-0



I. Ex-Im Bank and OPIC:Trade Promoters or Welfare Pariahs?
by Raymond J. Albright
II. Agriculture and U.S. Commercial
Diplomacy in Asia
by Robbin S. Johnson
III. Beyond Manic Mercantilism
by David J. Rothkopf
IV. How Much Bang for the Buck? Japan's Commercial Diplomacy in Asia
by Christopher B. Johnstone
Members of the Study Group
About the Authors

The Asian financial market meltdown and the fierce debate over the U.S. role in a bail-out tend to obscure the huge scale of American exports to the region, currently $200 billion a year. Washington's efforts to promote U.S. exports to Asia are equally controversial, having been tarred by the "Huang-gate" hearings on illegal campaign donations andaccusations of political favoritism and corporate welfare.

The study group report argues that commercial diplomacy--despite its flaws--can be an essential complement to structural reforms in Asia, a tool that can pry open Asian markets to U.S. exports of goods and services. Asia's temporary economic crisis presents a window of opportunity for U.S. commercial diplomacy can promote competitive markets, deregulation, privatization, and official transparency.

Based on a careful, year-long review by a panel of business, academic, and government experts, the report recommends that commercial diplomacy should be intelligently managed and carefully focused on the highest growth U.S. markets in Asia. It would be a mistake to kill commercial diplomacy, or leave it to wither because of political misdeeds or past errors. There is too much at stake.

More About This Publication

RAYMOND J. ALBRIGHT is a private international financial consultant and project director. In 1995 he retired as Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States after holding senior positions at the Bank over 22 years. He previously served in the Departments of State, Defense, and the Treasury.

ROBBIN S. JOHNSON is Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs, at Cargill Incorporated, where he has served in various senior positions since 1971. He currently serves on the boards of the International Policy Council on Agriculture and Trade and the National Center for APEC, and is on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee to the USTR/USDA.

CHRISTOPHER B. JOHNSTONE is currently a Research Fellow at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, a research institute in Honolulu. He was previously an analyst with the Japan Economic Institute, and has also served in the American embassy in Tokyo and as a staff assistant to a senior Member of the Diet's House of Councilors.

DAVID J. ROTHKOPF is President of the Washington, D.C.-based Newmarket Company. He also is Adjunct Professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and is a non-resident associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He served as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy Development and later as Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade during the first term of the Clinton Administration.

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