The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act was signed on June 12, 1934 as part of the Roosevelt administration`s efforts to pull America out of the Great Depression. RTAA has been an integral step in the U.S. transition from economic crisis to global leadership. The FDR considered that a full and sustainable recovery depended on strengthening international trade to increase domestic growth and demand. To ensure our country`s place in the global economy, the U.S. President and Congress had to work together to negotiate trade agreements, reduce tariffs on goods and increase U.S. exports. Strengthening international trade fostered the growth aspects of the New Deal`s domestic programs, and the successful implementation of the RTAA resulted in the conclusion of 19 new trade agreements between 1934 and 1939, strong growth in U.S. exports and a recovery of the U.S.
economy. Democrats voted much more in favor of trade liberalization than Republicans, but were not consistent in their preferences. Mp Henry Rainey (D-IL) and members of Roosevelt`s government, Rexford Tugwell, Raymond Moley and Adolf Berle, were skeptical of tariff reductions during the Depression. However, the government decided to use a Democratic-controlled congress and presidency to impose the RTAA. In 1936 and 1940, the Republican Party ran on a platform to lift tariff reductions guaranteed under the RTAA. But when they reclaimed Congress in 1946, they did not act to remove tariffs. In the years since the adoption of the RTAA in 1934, the economies of Europe and East Asia had been decimated by the violence of World War II, which left a huge global production gap filled by American exporters.  During the war, the United States had the highest positive balance in its history.
Republican preferences for tariffs began to shift as exporters in the home districts began to benefit from stronger international trade. In the 1950s, there was no statistically significant difference between Republicans and Democrats on customs policy, a change that has lasted ever since.  7. These are mentioned in Lowis, the classic Theodore “American Business, Public Policy, Case Studies, and Political Theory,” World Politics 16 (07 1964) CrossRefGoogle Scholar, although, as will be seen, Lowi`s interpretation of a “distributor`s” change in commercial policy to a “regulatory” issue is only partially correct.