|dc.description.abstract||My dissertation examines Sino-American trade relations in the 1970s. In December 1950, the United States imposed a total embargo on China after China entered the Korean War. On April 14, 1971, it announced an end to that embargo. Trade then resumed between the two countries without full diplomatic relations between the two governments. During this decade Sino-American trade witnessed a sudden surge, then setbacks, and eventual normalization. By January 1980, the United States and China had entered a trade agreement and granted mutual Most Favored Nation (MFN) status, thus completing economic normalization a year after the normalization of diplomatic relations.
Sino-American economic normalization was significant to the development of Sino-American relations, the transformation of Chinese economy, and the unfolding of the Cold War. The resumption of Sino-American trade opened an opportunity for the two countries to move beyond the expedient cooperation against the Soviet Union and develop an interdependent and enduring relationship. During the 1970s, American and Chinese business communities managed to build an infrastructure to sustain Sino-American economic exchange. Without the groundwork laid in the decade, the fast growth of Sino-American trade in the last thirty years would have been unimaginable.
Given that China was in the midst of the xenophobic Cultural Revolution until late 1976, China’s positive response to American businessmen was intriguing. Despite the heated anti-imperialist/capitalist propaganda in China, a few Chinese leaders battled with the left wing of the government and expanded China’s trade with the capitalist countries. With increasing contacts with the West, China began to adopt many customary international trade practices. As Deng Xiaoping commented, these experiments with foreign trade were predecessors to China’s opening up and economic reforms after the Cultural Revolution. America’s economic engagement added the momentum in China to end the Cultural Revolution and start a new era of opening-up and economic reform. China’s switch from a command economy to a market economy was a critical victory for the United States in the Cold War.||