Book

Protecting Free Trade

Lawrence Mills

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9789888083985
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209084 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789888083985.001.0001
Protecting Free Trade

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Protecting Free Trade is the story of a paradox that both limited and stimulated Hong Kong’s post-war economy. In order to preserve its access to open markets, Hong Kong was obligated by international agreements to accept restraints on its exports; and in order to sustain growth, Hong Kong had to subject its largest industry — textiles — to a massive network of restrictions. Protecting Free Trade examines how Hong Kong handled, by negotiation, attempts by developed economies to limit international trade through protective measures. The central argument is that, far from stifling Hong Kong’s industry, restrictive international trade agreements were the stimulus for economic success by creating a sellers’ market in which Hong Kong was the dominant supplier. Lawrence Mills was deeply involved in many of the critical economic issues that Hong Kong faced in the 50 years leading up to its return to China in 1997. In Protecting Free Trade he examines the constitutional paradox of Britain's international responsibility for, but different trading interests from, Hong Kong. He explains why, for the strategic defence of its interests, Hong Kong depended on international trade arrangements and bilateral restraint agreements. Protecting Free Trade also examines the role of the Commerce and Industry Department, which Mills headed, and of its principal advisory boards. It details the bureaucratic systems, including controversial quota controls, that were necessary to give Hong Kong’s businessmen stability and room for manoeuvre in fast-evolving markets.

Keywords: Hong Kong; Free Trade; Textiles; China; USA; Europe; Trade and Industry Department; Trade agreements; Quota system; Tariffs

Book.  196 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Business and Management

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Table of Contents

Prologue in Protecting Free Trade

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Early Problems in Protecting Free Trade

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Making It Work in Protecting Free Trade

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Quota Transfers in Protecting Free Trade

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