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MGT520 - International Business - Lecture Handout 30

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GATT AND WTO

The World Trade Organization:

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded in 1995, and is comprised of 146 member countries and 30 observer countries. The WTO has three primary goals: to promote trade flows by encouraging nations to adopt non-discriminatory and predictable trade policies, to reduce remaining trade barriers through multilateral negotiations, and to establish impartial procedures for resolving trade disputes among members.

Problem Sectors:

One challenge facing the WTO is dealing with sectors of the economy such as agriculture and textiles that most nations protect. Groups including the Cairns Group (a group of major agricultural exporters) have pressured the WTO to ensure that the Uruguay Round policies dealing with agricultural trade are implemented according to schedule. Similarly, developing countries are monitoring the dismantling of the Multifibre Agreement (MFA), which created a complex array of quotas and tariffs on trade in textiles and apparel.

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MGT520 - International Business - Lecture Handout 21

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INTERNATIONAL TRADE THEORY

ABSOLUTE ADVANTAGE:

In 1776, Adam Smith questioned the prevailing Mercantilist ideas on trade and developed the theory of Absolute Advantage. Smith reasoned that if trade were unrestricted, each country would specialize in those products in which it had a competitive advantage. Each country’s resources would shift to the efficient industries because the country could not compete in the inefficient ones. Through specialization, countries could improve their efficiency because 1) labor could become more skilled by repeating the same tasks, 2) labor would not lose time in switching among production of different products, and 3) long production runs would provide incentives for the development of more efficient working methods.

Natural Advantage:

A country may have a natural advantage in some products because of climate or other natural resources (labor, minerals, etc.).

Acquired Advantage:

In manufactured goods, countries usually have acquired an advantage in either their product or process technology.

Resource Efficiency Example:

Figure 5.2 illustrates how the United States has an absolute advantage in wheat, while Sri Lanka has an absolute advantage in tea. By the U.S. specializing in wheat production and Sri Lanka specializing in tea production, the global production of tea and wheat can be increased.

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