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SEMINAR 3

1.

Write a paragraph or two (max 500 words) about:


a. The detail of how you are part of international trade
(including any questions you might have about who made
your coffee beans or smartphone that you cant easily
answer).
b. How this makes you feel about your life.
c. Your own identity and your relationships to the other
people who have been involved in producing your stuff.

Every morning, when I wake up, I smoke a cigarette. I smoke about 15 cigarettes a
day, so I usually buy a package of cigarettes each two days approximately. This is
the activity which impact in the international trade I am going to analyze.
First of all, it is necessary to identify the other actors involved in the production,
distribution and sale of tobacco. Before doing some research I used to assume that
smoking was a major problem in the developed world/countries, because, as I
thought, the need to smoke and the purchase of tobacco only appears in societies
or among people that have their basic needs fulfilled. So, on my mind, I draw a line
in between the producers of tobacco, allocated in the developing countries, and
the consumers, from developed countries.
However, in my search of information for this essay, I realized of a couple of things
that weakened the identity and the roles that I had mentally created:
Globally, the main producer of tobacco is the US, a developed country! But the
tobacco farm workers, which are migrants, are exploited and their life conditions are
the ones that I had assumed only existed in underdeveloped countries. Therefore,
this discovery leads me to question who we can consider a developed country a
country that carries on and allows these human rights violating practices.
The second thing I realized, was the fact that smoking is an important issue among
developing countries and also inside our developed ones. In the formers, huge
amounts of household income are spent on this vice, regardless the total family
income. In the latter, poor and marginalized people struggle to keep smoking even
though they lack money to cover their primary needs.
Where am I in the tobacco trade? Whats my role? I feel that I am just a small
engine in the vast and complex machine that the tobacco industry is.
Also speak about the different ways we regard smoking. I see it as pleasure or as a
way to relax; but I guess that poor smokers, that keep smoking regardless their low
income, must feel that tobacco is a tie or a chain from which they cannot escape.

Finally, it is also important to take into account the role of the media and the
politicians, and how tobacco industries pay them to control and modify the rules
and the news that affect tobacco production. So, I keep in mind the fact that the
thoughts I have on tobacco are just made up by biased news and nonexistent
advertisements. However, what scares me the most is the fact that, while
consuming tobacco, I dont care about the lives of those who help growing and
producing it.

Media and lobbying

Smoking a cigarette every morning.


RESEARCH:
-

Not very visible.


Smoking is seen as an unnecessary activity (not as a
need) in the developed countries.

Aa
2.

As part of our discussion on all this written work, we may also

find ourselves thinking about the following questions:


Do you agree with the WTO about the ten benefits of
international trade?

WTO can:
-

Cut living costs and raise living standards:

Protectionism is expensive: it raises prices. The WTOs global system


lowers trade barriers through negotiation and operates under the
principle of non-discrimination.
Barriers in the agricultural market in developed countries, while the
economy restructures, focusing on the 3rd Sector. Therefore, this
implies

the

perpetuation

or

relegation

of

some

countries

to

Agricultural and Farming exploitation.


Whose living standards are arisen?
If customs duties on textiles and clothing were also to be eliminated,
economists calculated that the result could be a gain to the world of
around $23 billion, including $12.3 billion for the US, $0.8 billion for

Canada, $2.2 billion for the EU and around $8 billion for developing
countries.
-

Settle disputes and reduce trade tensions:

Dispute settlement is sometimes described as the jewel in the WTOs


crown. Its the central pillar of the multilateral trading system, and the
WTOs unique contribution to the stability of the global economy.
WTO dispute settlement focuses countries attention on the rules.
Once a verdict has been announced, countries concentrate on
complying with the rules, and perhaps later renegotiating them
rather than declaring war on each other.
Examples of ignoring the WTO resolutions
-

Stimulate economic growth and employment:


Cut the cost of doing business internationally:
Encourage good governance: US
Help countries develop:
Give the weak a stronger voice:
Support the environment and health:
Contribute to peace and stability:
Be effective without hitting the headlines:

Ethics of International trade: The important fact is that countries


should not commerce/trade with countries that dont give the same
working protections to the workers and that violate Human Rights,
because that helps perpetuating the status quo where countries, in
order to be competitive, lead the race to the bottom.

Would a globally enforced policy of free trade be good for

developing countries?
How do fair trade initiatives attempt to address the problems of

international trade? And do you think they are successful?


Do you normally try to buy fair trade? In all products or just some?
Why/not?