Monday, August 11, 2014

359. The Start of US China Trade

Dave Wang, PhD — manager of Queens Library in Laurelton — said the early Americans saw ginseng “as a valuable opportunity to break their economic blockage by Britain” (e-mail, April 23, 2012). Other sources document the Empress as an attempt to establish a new source of tea, which was becoming dearly missed after the United States was banned from trading with the British West Indies. Meanwhile, China also had a need for new ginseng sources. Though the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) first sought to protect the region’s ginseng populations by controlling collection, it eventually gave up that mission. “[The Empress] triumphed because it made it there and back, and made a profit, which was never guaranteed at that point in time.

Economically, it was important in terms of making contact between the US and China,” said Taylor, noting a Congressional resolution, passed after the Empress’s return, encouraging more such ventures. According to Dr. Wang, American ginseng “was the most important commercial good in the trade between China and the United States during the late 1700s leading into the early 1800s.” The above paragraph is from Lindsay Stafford' s article, First US-China Trade Ship Carried 30 Tons of American Ginseng Helped Establish American Identity and Roots of International Trade. It is available on line from this link.

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