Geo-economic competition and trade bloc formation: United States, German, and Japanese exports, 1968-1992

John O'Loughlin, Luc Anselin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


In the post-cold war world, geo-economic competition is thought to be replacing geopolitical competition as the focus of great power relations. The cold war years corresponded to the period of U.S. hegemony in world trade and relations in the Western bloc. With the shrinking of the power gap between the United States and the other two great trading states, Japan and West Germany, as well as increased competition for trade shares, a division of the world economy into trade blocs has been anticipated. An examination of export shares for the three great powers with 114 partners in the past quarter century, 1968 to 1992, indicates there is not much evidence for the hypothesis of a world devolving into trade blocs. While regional links have intensified somewhat between the United States and its neighbors in the Americas and between West Germany and its European Union partners, Japan is broadening and deepening its export linkages with extraregional partners. Fears of the formation of blocs in the world trading system are greatly exaggerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-160
Number of pages30
JournalEconomic Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • Geo-economics
  • Geopolitical order
  • Panregions
  • Spatial analysis
  • Trade blocs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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