Comparison of Trade Rivalries


The German-Great Britain trade rivalry like the U.S.-Japan 
trade rivalry involved a rising power cutting into the trade of
an already dominant trading power. There were several causes of the 
German-Great Britain trade rivalry according to Hoffman. The first was 
German's industry's zeal in procuring new contracts and expanding 
markets. They did this by fulfilling contracts even if they were very 
small and constantly trying to stay up with market demand. Second, 
Germans had a knowledge of languages that the English firms lacked. 
Third, German industry was aided by their government. In contrast 
Great Britain did not even supply consular assistance in helping 
develop markets in British colonies. Fourth, British trade was hurt by
the conservatism of British manufacturers who were unwilling to 
develop new markets or hold onto those it already possessed. These 
four factors are just some of the factors that helped German industry 
grow and rival that of Great Britain. 
 These four factors are all very similar to the Japan-U.S. 
trade rivalry. Japan like Germany was able to catch up to the U.S. 
because the U.S. was large and arrogant and refused to believe it 
could face competition from Japan. Like Britain, U.S. industry 
believed that they could hold onto markets and would not face 
competition. British and U.S. industry were startled by the fast rate 
of growth and industrialization that allowed Germany and Japan to 
transform themselves quickly into trading rivals. This fast rate of 
growth also caused friction between both sets of countries. Relations 
between Germany and Great Britain were damaged as they bickered over 
markets in particular colonies in Africa . This is similar to the 
friction between the U.S. and Japan unfair trading practices and 
closed markets. 
 Both the U.S. and Great Britain in response to losing markets 
toyed with the idea of economic nationalism and tariffs. As Britain 
lost markets to Germany many in Britain felt that Britain should adopt 
tariffs on goods while others known as the free traders believed that 
a free trade would benefit Britain by creating markets. This split 
between Tariff Reformers and Free Traders is similar to the split in 
the U.S. between those in favor of free trade and those opposed to it. 
Germany's grab for new markets in the 1890's through commercial 
treaties such as the 1891 treaty with Austria-Hungry is similar to 
both the United States and Japan's free trade zones with neighboring 
countries using treaties such as ASEAN and NAFTA. 
 The German-Great Britain trade rivalry is different then the 
U.S.-Japan trade rivalry because a large sector of Japan's market for 
selling goods is the United States who it is competing against; this 
was not true of Germany. Both Britain and Germany were competing for 
markets outside of both their countries. Also the trade rivalry 
between Japan and the United States did not involve a fight over 
colonies. Trade rivalries between rising and dominant powers change 
little over time. The German-British trade rivalry and the Japan U.S. 
rivalry were very similar in their causes, effects, and the solutions 
that both sets of governments used to overcome their trading rival.


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