chapter  24
11 Pages

Explaining Business Support for Regional Trade Agreements

ByRONALD W. COX

Since the mid-1970s, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system has been accompanied by increased divisions among business internationalists previously committed to multilateralism. U.S. foreign direct investors in automobiles and electronics have moved both economically and politically to restructure their operations in order to better compete with Japanese and Western European firms for the triad markets of Japan, Western Europe, and the United States. At one level, firms involved in such restructuring have integrated their North American operations by dividing production of component parts to take advantage of cheap labor and low-cost access to the U.S. market. The project of industrial restructuring represents an ongoing effort by some U.S. transnational corporations to counteract the dual trends of excess capacity and dwindling market share that characterized the late 1970s and early 1980s.