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U.S. states impact foreign policy amid national China unease, research shows - Keough School - University of Notre Dame

U.S. states impact foreign policy amid national China unease, research shows - Keough School - University of Notre Dame
State-level officials such as governors, state legislators, and attorneys general are shaping U.S.-China relations as the two countries navigate a strained geopolitical relationship, according to […]

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New Research Shows State-Level Officials Shaping U.S.-China Relations

A recent study by political scientist Kyle Jaros from the University of Notre Dame has found that state-level officials such as governors, state legislators, and attorneys general play a significant role in shaping U.S.-China relations. The study, published in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, highlights the independent importance of state-level engagement with China, despite foreign policy being the responsibility of the federal government.

Jaros and his colleague Sara Newland of Smith College found that states vary widely in their engagement with China, with some adopting pro-engagement policies, while others take a more confrontational approach. For example, California has continued to foster people-to-people contact with China, while Florida and Texas have adopted policies that curb contact between state institutions and China.

The study also includes an in-depth case study of Indiana, which has seen a shift in its engagement with China. While the state has pursued cooperation with China in the past, recent policies have shown a more cautious approach, including divesting the state's pension fund from China and banning new sister city relationships with China.

Jaros and Newland are now expanding their research to include city-level diplomacy and will be meeting with city officials, chamber of commerce members, and other local groups in Los Angeles, Hartford, Des Moines, and Jacksonville.

The next stage of the research will focus on examining the consequences of state-level engagement with China and its policy implications. Jaros emphasized the importance of understanding what kinds of interactions with China are appropriate and what kinds of caution are needed at the city, state, and federal levels.

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