comparative politics international relations

JPOSS #17 “Global Value Chains and Domestic Politics Response to Trade: China, Japan, and the United States Compared”

The seventeenth session of the Japanese Politics Online Seminar Series (JPOSS) took place on June 24, 2021. Phillip Lipscy (University of Toronto) chaired the seminar and moderated the question and answer session.

Hiroki Takeuchi (Southern Methodist University) presented his paper, “Global Value Chains and Domestic Politics Response to Trade: China, Japan, and the United States Compared.” In his presentation, Takeuchi discussed his research on the politics of trade in the three largest economies (the US, China, and Japan) with a focus on how each has responded to the rise of Global Value Chains (GVCs) characterized by multi-stage manufacturing in which various stages of production occur in different countries. This topic has profound implications for the politics of international trade because GVCs challenge conventional rules governing international trade and in many cases have fundamentally altered manufacturing in some cases triggering public backlashes against international trade. Of particular interest was the way in which Takeuchi articulated how GVCs have altered the ways in which states make rules on international trade and commit to controversial domestic reforms such as pressures on China to change the way state-owned enterprises (SOEs) function.

Discussant comments were offered by Patricia Maclachlan (University of Texas at Austin) and Ka Zeng (University of Arkansas). The discussion raised interesting questions about the politics of trade in Japan and other developed countries as well as the ability of the US to re-emerge on as a world leader on trade policy. The discussants and the audience also offered many constructive suggestions pertaining to thematic focus, research methods and possible future directions of the research.

This event attracted close to thirty participants and produced an engaging Q&A session. The organizers would like to thank the presenters, discussants, and participants, as well as the staff at the Harvard Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, who provided administrative support. We look forward to seeing you at the next session of JPOSS: