Go to the grocery store. Notice the packaging for various food products. How many can you find that have instructions written in both Spanish and English? How about French and English? If you asked the product managers when dual language instructions began to appear, you would find this closely correlated to the passage of NAFTA. This week’s activity will focus your attention on the subtle influences and consequences of regional integration, or trading blocs.
Regional trading blocs attempt to achieve economic gain from the free flow of trade and investment across borders, yet they can become a controversial issue. While many countries reap the benefits of decreased trade barriers, others worry that they come at the cost of diluting a country’s unique identity. They may also bring a threat to domestic jobs in your home country. They may increase competition for your country’s businesses The scope of regional agreements is important, too. While some trading blocs are only economically integrated, others are both economically and politically integrated. Different opportunities arise at the differing levels of integration. As such, considering the various nature and impact of these trading blocs helps determine the location where your company should enter the world market.
Your boss has told you that you have the privilege of going to Washington D.C. to present a 15-minute presentation to a congressional subcommittee on how the various levels of regional integration are affecting your industry. Please craft an executive level briefing of three to five pages, presenting how your industry (or an industry that you select) and its constituencies have been affected by regionalization and economic integration. Put your “briefing” into the Dropbox by midnight on Sunday.
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