This chapter examines at the international reaction to the Smoot–Hawley tariff. The popular perception is that the tariff backfired by triggering retaliation against U.S. exports and the spread of trade blocs that discriminated against the United States, inflicting long-term damage for U.S. commercial and foreign policy interests. This perception is largely accurate. While countries did not broadcast that they were retaliating against the United States for imposing the tariff, the nature and timing of the measures they took strongly suggest that was the primary motivation. A month after the Smoot–Hawley tariff was imposed, a pro-American Liberal government in Canada lost a general election to the pro-British Conservatives, who erected trade barriers designed to shift Canada's imports from the United States to Britain. Other countries discriminated against U.S. exports as well, and the nation's share of world trade fell sharply.
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