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Robin Hoods or thieves? A Foucauldian analysis of international trade policies regarding software piracy
Unformatted Document Text:  Foucauldian analysis of international trade policies 20 Unfair trade practices Perhaps perceived as the most blatantly unilateralistic development is what is termed “Section 301,” a part of the 1988 Omnibus Trade Act that requires the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to “investigate countries determined to have a history of violating existing laws and agreements dealing with intellectual property rights. Such countries must have their current practices reviewed each year, and, if they are not found to be improving, are subject to mandated retaliation under Section 301” (Destler, 1995, p. 318). Section 301, Special 301, Super 301 in U.S. Trade legislation were, according to Bhagwati (1991, especially p.126-140) the “instruments of aggressive unilateralism,” and these instruments have important drawbacks. “Even if one makes the implausible assumption that Section 301 will be used only for ‘altruistic’ reasons, the notion that the United States should serve as a benign dictator, laying down its own definition of a desirable trading regime instead of making (admittedly slower) progress by persuasion and mutual concession, is hard to accept” (Bhagwati, 1991, p. 57). “There is also the possibility that the use of muscle to impose one’s views and to extract one-way trade concessions will poison the ethos of fairness in trade relations, without which open markets are hard to sustain” (Bhagwati, 1991, p. 56). Bhagwati (1991) concludes that “The lobbies in the United States that drive [trade relations] do not really care whether markets open generally: Their objective evidently is to increase their own exports. Equally, the countries targeted for action know that the American pressures are more likely to ease if the United States gets a good share than if it does not. The game is set up therefore in terms of implicit pro- trade diversion bias rules that all parties recognize as political realities” (p. 55-56).

Authors: Malyshev, Yuri. and Hamilton, Ann.
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Foucauldian analysis of international trade policies 20
Unfair trade practices
Perhaps perceived as the most blatantly unilateralistic development is what is
termed “Section 301,” a part of the 1988 Omnibus Trade Act that requires the U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) to “investigate countries determined to have a history of violating
existing laws and agreements dealing with intellectual property rights. Such countries must
have their current practices reviewed each year, and, if they are not found to be improving,
are subject to mandated retaliation under Section 301” (Destler, 1995, p. 318).
Section 301, Special 301, Super 301 in U.S. Trade legislation were, according to
Bhagwati (1991, especially p.126-140) the “instruments of aggressive unilateralism,” and
these instruments have important drawbacks. “Even if one makes the implausible
assumption that Section 301 will be used only for ‘altruistic’ reasons, the notion that the
United States should serve as a benign dictator, laying down its own definition of a
desirable trading regime instead of making (admittedly slower) progress by persuasion and
mutual concession, is hard to accept” (Bhagwati, 1991, p. 57). “There is also the possibility
that the use of muscle to impose one’s views and to extract one-way trade concessions will
poison the ethos of fairness in trade relations, without which open markets are hard to
sustain” (Bhagwati, 1991, p. 56). Bhagwati (1991) concludes that “The lobbies in the
United States that drive [trade relations] do not really care whether markets open generally:
Their objective evidently is to increase their own exports. Equally, the countries targeted
for action know that the American pressures are more likely to ease if the United States
gets a good share than if it does not. The game is set up therefore in terms of implicit pro-
trade diversion bias rules that all parties recognize as political realities” (p. 55-56).


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