As in every area in which people deal with one another, problems are inevitable in international trade. Common place misunderstandings spring from differences in language, in culture, and in business practice. Problems may be complicated by simple distance and by complex currency conversions. They may spring from a belief that one country is unfairly competing in another country's market. In international trade an industry may be helped by its government, a practice considered unfair by competitive industries in other countries. Officially sanctioned low wage scales or other price-cutting policies may give the first country's industry a pricing advantage that the other countries' industries cannot tolerate if their workers are to maintain their standard of living. Sometimes government officials would rather help support their export industries and keep workers on the job than risk social unrest; sometimes they find that it costs less to help pay workers than to pay benefits to the unemployed. Governments may also find that they can make exports more competitive if they intervene—that is, buy or sell in the currency markets and keep the cost low in relation to other currencies. For reasons of practicality, justice, and compassion, it is also necessary to make sure that heavy supplies of agricultural products do not lower the prices so sharply and suddenly as to drive growers out of business and disturb markets in ensuing years. To deal with the complexities of international trade, several international agencies have been established.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) focuses on international economic relationsand attempts to encourage economic growth and raise living standards in less developed countries. The various UNCTAD committees meet at regular intervals, and the full body meets every few years. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in 1961 to promote economic and social welfare in member countries and to stimulate and harmonize efforts on behalf of developing nations. Nearly all industrialized “free market” countries are members. As of 2001 the membership consisted of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The headquarters are in Paris.
International Bodies and Agreements European Union (EU), formerly called the European Communities, is the collective name of three organizations—the European Economic Community, or Common Market, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community. A merger of the communities' executives went into effect on July 1, 1967. The permanent structure consists of a Council of Ministers, a Commission, a European Parliament, and a Court of Justice. Beginning after 1992, the communities aimed to integrate their economies, coordinate social development, and ultimately bring about political union. The full members are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Finland, and Sweden. Many nations in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific are affiliated with the EU but are not full members.
The Role of Government International Bodies and Agreements Development banks, such as the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or World Bank, help with economic and social development in various regions. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was both an organization and a set of agreements. The purpose of GATT was to get rid of quotas and to lower tariffs. GATT was started in 1947 as a temporary arrangement. It persisted through eight rounds of trade talks, however, until it was finally replaced by the World Trade Organization. Negotiators met periodically to set rules and discuss lowering trade barriers.
International Bodies and Agreements World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO was formed in 1995 as a multilateral organization to monitor trade and resolve disputes. In addition to negotiating new agreements it was charged with enforcing the provisions established by GATT. There are also United States government agencies that help promote United States exports to pay for imports and to create jobs for American workers.
(From: Britannica Student Encyclopedia from Encyclopedia Britannica 2004 Children's Edition. 1994-2003)
1. Explain the italicized grammar phenomena.
2. Give the summary of the text.
3. Define the notions in bold.
4. Do you agree with the underlined statement?
5. Ask problem questions.
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