The Art of Economic War: Cultural Property Import Tariffs as Foreign Policy
In her Note published in the Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law (June 2021), Catherine Braun analyzes the imposition of U.S. import tariffs on art and cultural property within the context of modern economic warfare. She traces the strategic political history of U.S. tariffs, explores the current international art industry landscape, and examines the important role of art as cultural heritage, as “soft” power, and as an economic driving force. By focusing on the Chinese art and antiquities import tariff enacted during the ongoing U.S.-China Trade War, she concludes that these punitive, economically counterproductive import tariffs disproportionately penalize American businesses and citizens, disincentivize foreign investment, and invite retaliatory protectionism. In sum, these import tariffs serve as trade barriers that highlight modern political and economic warfare tactics and symbolize the underlying ideologies of U.S. foreign policy.