|Get a Global Trade Education
The World Trade Organization provides discussion papers on specific trade issues on its Web site at www. wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/ discussion_papers_ e.htm. These papers, available for free download, are helpful overviews of such subjects as:
Selected Issues Concerning the Multilateral Trading System Explores some selected issues, including misconceptions, concerning international trade and investment. Particular attention is focused on several issues that are of special interest to developing countries.
The Global Textile and Clothing Industry Post the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing Written by a member of the WTO Secretariat in a personal capacity, assesses some of the possibilities with respect to the potential impact of trade liberalization in the textiles and clothing sector with the end of quotas on January 1. The paper reproduces simulation estimates of the effects on trade flows of quota removal, using standard general equilibrium modelling techniques, argues that the estimates thus derived tend to ignore certain industry characteristics and policy factors, and ends by offering an alternative estimation technique.
The Role of Export Taxes in the Field of Primary Commodities Examines the economic effects of an export tax on commodity prices and the volume of exports. The paper looks at how welfare resulting from an export tax is redistributed among foreign and domestic consumers, producers and the government, and the effects of an export tax used as an instrument of trade policy to improve developing countries terms of trade, favors economic diversification and help the poor.
Income Volatility in Small and Developing Economies: Export Concentration Matters Examines the effect of export concentration on income volatility in small economies, and concludes that volatility is reduced if small economies diversify their exports.
Improving the Availability of Trade Finance During Financial Crises Explores the reasons behind the failure by private markets and other institutions to meet demand for cross-border and domestic short-term trade finance during financial crises such as the one that affected emerging economies in the 1990s.
Industrial Tariffs and the Doha Development Agenda Focuses on the basic mandate given to negotiators at the Doha round of talks and looks at specific issues facing developed, developing and least-developed countries.
Revisit the site frequently to check for newly added discussion papers.
Standards and Consumer Education
In the realm of consumer products, standards can be powerful tools of consumer education; that education can also impact sales. A recent example of this surfaced when engineers at the Good Housekeeping Institute tested three different pool alarm models to ASTM Standard F 2208, Specification for Pool Alarms. The Poolguard PGRM-2 alarm was the only one of the three alarms that passed the tests.
After the results of these tests were published in the August 2004 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, Poolguard, based in North Vernon, Ind., experienced an increase in sales, according to the companys president, Merle Stoner. Stoner, a member of the ASTM committee that developed the standard, says the companys involvement in the development of the standard also had a profound impact on the development of the pool alarm product.
In order to reinforce the importance of pool safety issues, Poolguard has since provided a wealth of information for consumers on its Web site, including the article from Good Housekeeping, an NBC News Dateline report on pool alarms, and information on Specification F 2208.
Intellectual Property Rights
The U.S. Department of Commerce has launched a new Web site, www. StopFakes.gov, devoted to helping entrepreneurs secure intellectual property rights.
The site contains a pamphlet on Protecting Your Intellectual Property at Home and Abroad, key government links for help with intellectual property issues, a guide to U.S. government resources for protecting intellectual property, and a China IPR Toolkit with suggestions regarding what American companies can do to protect their IPR in China and steps to consider after an infringement occurs.
As part of its intellectual property initiative, Commerce has also established a hotline that provides a one-stop-shop for businesses to protect their intellectual property at home and abroad. 1-866-999-HALT provides businesses with the information they need to leverage the resources of the U.S. government to protect their intellectual property rights.
Wanted: Experts in Quality
Each year the U.S. Baldrige National Quality Program recruits experts from business, education, health care and other fields to serve as members of the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Examiners evaluate applications for the award and prepare feedback reports to applicants citing strengths and opportunities for improvement.
The board consists of more than 500 members, including nine judges and about 60 senior examiners representing many industries, companies and organizations, including those from not-for-profit and public sectors. For the 2005 board, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is particularly looking for applicants who are physicians and those with experience in financial, food manufacturing, utilities and not-for-profit sectors. Service on the board provides an opportunity to enhance a board members knowledge, to develop a new network of expert colleagues and to help improve U.S. competitiveness.
Applications for the board are available at http://baldrige.nist.gov/ Examiner_ Application.htm or by calling 301/975-2036.
Copyright © ASTM, 2005