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International Trade

International Trade

Discussion & Essay Questions

Available to teachers only as part of the International TradeTeacher Pass

International Trade Teacher Pass includes:

  • Assignments & Activities
  • Reading Quizzes
  • Current Events & Pop Culture articles
  • Discussion & Essay Questions
  • Challenges & Opportunities
  • Related Readings in Literature & History

Sample of Discussion & Essay Questions

  1. How and why does the United States protect trucks and not cars?
  2. Is a strong U.S. dollar good or bad for U.S. business?
  3. Currently, U.S. corporations exporting products into other countries pay corporate taxes in those other countries. For many corporations, cash builds up on their balance sheet and remains in a bank in the foreign country. Corporations would like to send their cash back to the “mother ship” in the United States. Current tax law would tax that “repatriation” of cash as a second set of profits. Is this second taxing a good idea or a bad idea? If it remains in place, what is the effect on corporate spending?
  4. Is China’s reluctance to protect U.S. copyright laws the result of a different understanding of what intellectual property is, a reflection of bad ethics, or an economically driven incentive for the Chinese mob?
  5. If China owns a major portion of U.S. foreign debt, is that good or bad for U.S. companies doing business with China? Do we care who owns our debt?
  6. The United States currently does not have a commercial trade agreement with Korea and many Latin American countries. Do you believe this is because
  7. a. we are an ethically sensitive country that will only do business with those who respect our notion of human rights?
    b. this prohibition is in the best economic interest of all Americans ?
    c. this prohibition is in the best interest of American unions?
  8. Regulations for banks outside of the United States remain meaningfully “looser” than the financial regulation recently passed in Congress. This Act makes U.S. banks less competitive with overseas clients. Are the financial regulations good law? What are the pros and cons?
  9. Greece recently went effectively bankrupt. Why did the stock market drop $2 trillion in value in the United States because of Greece's troubles?
  10. The cost to bail out Greece will be roughly the same as the cost to bail out California. Should we bail out California? Take the perspective of a resident of North Dakota, whose state manages a balanced budget. Then take the perspective of a California municipal bond holder.
  11. Compare and contrast the policies of Yahoo! and Google in China.
  12. a. Yahoo! capitulated to government queries, turning over the personal identities of bloggers and journalists who may have been critical of Chinese human rights policies. This act of capitulation likely saved Yahoo! $.15 of earnings per share in Q3 of 2008. Was it worth it to shareholders?
    b. Google took the opposite tack and essentially withdrew operations from China for similar government intervention. This withdrawal cost Google roughly 10% of the market value of its stock over a ten-week period. Was it worth this decision worth it to shareholders?
  13. The United States is the only country that taxes its expatriates incrementally from their domestic tax obligations. An earner making $200,000 as an expat living in Prague makes only $80,000. Evaluate this policy as
  14. a. A graduating student hoping to get a job in Prague
    b. A company operating in Prague having to decide whether to hire an American or Czech graduate.
  15. Should we legalize importing of marijuana from Mexico?
  16. Which if any of these policies should be adopted?
  17. a. Anybody who pays $3,000,000 or more in all cash for a home in the United States is automatically granted citizenship.
    b. Anybody who has a college degree from an accredited school in engineering or computer science is offered citizenship in the United States.
  18. Rolex watches continue to be a dominant brand in the luxury watch market. Rolex is a Swiss company that gets no tariff protection from either Switzerland or the United States. They have simply “earned” their position as a high-margin luxury watch manufacturer and distributor. Who else is in Rolex’s league?
  19. Describe how the NFL could go international. Compare their efforts with that of the NBA, the MLB in Japan, and soccer as a U.S. import.
  20. Should cross-border gambling be allowed on the internet?
  21. Why have the German car makers "suffering" under vast union ownership been so effective as exporters of their cars around the world?
  22. You are the owner of an NFL team. You lose $20 million per year. Your bank lines are fully tapped, and you need to find a way to bridge that gap. On for a small growth budget, explain how you market a new team.
  23. You are the new CEO of GM. Your union contracts almost certainly guarantee bankruptcy in 10 years. Your government loans require payback over the same time period, and there is little hope that they will be renewed on more favorable terms under a Republican Administration. What do you do?
  24. a. Begin dismantlement of the company to service the bondholders at the price of the equity holders. In this scenario people who have loaned money to GM likely get paid back, but the common equity owners likely get next to nothing.
    b. Paint a rosy picture of union-built cars in the United States, and raise money from the buying public in an IPO.
    c. Migrate into the auto lending and credit industries, forsaking focus on making new cars.
    d. Adopt a radical new strategy in being 100% green by 2015. GM can stand for “Green Motors” after having been demoted to Colonel Motors.