A Look At 7 Historic U.S. Trade Skirmishes & How They Compare With Current Trade Wars


Here are some of the more interesting U.S. trade wars, and how they compare to the current spat that is evolving with major trade partners:

History is full of trade wars. In the majority of cases, the consequences are mostly economic – trade barriers are enacted, and then retaliatory measures are used to counter. Relations can continue to escalate until an understanding can be reached by both parties but, in the minority of cases, trade wars can lead to world-changing consequences.

  • …The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a bold response to an unfair trade measure imposed by a ruling power, and it proved to be a key catalyst that led to the American Revolution.
  • …The Opium Wars occurred after the Qing Dynasty (China) tried to prevent British merchants from selling opium to the Chinese in the 1830s. These trade barriers led to armed conflicts, and effectively put the nail in the coffin of the Qing Dynasty – the start of China’s infamous “century of humiliation”.
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