FTAA and the living standards of both small and large countries

Activity 1: Free Trade

In your small group discuss the issue of free trade. Some governments across the Americas are strong supporters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This is true despite evidence that small companies typically have difficulty competing against large multinationals when their nations take part in regional trading blocs.
Guiding Questions:

Do you think the FTAA would improve living standards in small countries (such as Ecuador and Nicaragua) or benefit only the largest nations such as Canada and the United States? Explain.
What can national governments do to help small companies compete in large trading blocs like the FTA
Activity 2: Debate Project.

Students will work in small groups to come up with questions and answers prior to the debate. Two groups of four students each will debate the merits of extending NAFTA to more advanced levels of economic (and political) integration. After the first student from each side has spoken, the second student will question the opponent’s arguments, looking for holes and inconsistencies. Students should be prepared to defend their positions with conceptual information and facts from countries and companies affected by regional integration.The third student will attempt to answer these arguments. A fourth student will present a summary of each side’s arguments. Finally, the class will vote to determine which team offered the more compelling argument.

Activity 3: Case Study Global Trade Deficit in Food Safety

As a team, read through and discuss the case at the end of Chapter 8. Use the following questions to guide your discussion. Be prepared to share your answers in a large group.

How do you think countries with a high volume of exports to the United States, such as Mexico, would respond to stricter food-safety rules?
Do you think such measures are a good way to stem the tide of food-related illnesses?
Some people believe that free trade agreements force consumers to trade the health and safety of their families for free trade. What are the benefits and drawbacks of putting food-safety regulations into regional trade pacts?
The lack of harmonized food-safety practices and standards is just one of the challenges faced by the food industry as it becomes more global.
What other challenges face the food industry in an era of economic integration and open markets?
Activity 4: Monetary Crises

Students work in teams to reconstruct and analyze monetary crises that have occurred in the world recently. Some possible crises include The Mexico Peso Crisis, The Southeast Asia’s Currency Crisis, Russia’s Ruble Crisis, and Argentina’s Peso Crisis. However, new crises emerge every day and students could choose another monetary crisis to analyze. Teams should reconstruct what led up to the crises, what the effect was, what impact it had on trade and on living conditions in the country. They should analyze what was done to remedy the crisis and whether it was effective. Use explicit examples and sources to explain.

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