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Discuss the following questions

1. What are some advantages of international trade? Consider this from the perspectives of both importer and exporter.

2. What are some disadvantages of international trade? Again, consider both parties.

3. What commodities does your country export? What are the three biggest imports?



Below is a list of terms that you will find in the text. As you read "Why Nations Trade", see if you understand each term. Use this as a working list and add other terms with which you are unfamiliar.

resource restrict national efficiently
output import global domestically
standard of living lack scarce  
expertise export advantageous  
absolute suit    
comparative advantage enab1e    



The sale of goods and services is not restricted to local, regional, or national markets; it often takes place on an international basis. Nations import goods that they lack or cannot produce as efficiently as other nations, and they export goods that they can produce more efficiently. This exchange of goods and services in the world, or global market is known as international trade. There are three main benefits to be gained from this type of exchange.

First, international trade makes scarce goods available to nations that need or desire them. When a nation lacks the resources needed to produce goods domestically, it may import them from another country.

For example, Saudi Arabia imports automobiles; the United States, bananas; and Japan, oil.

Second, international trade allows a nation to specialize in production of those goods for which it is particularly suited. This often results in increased output, decreased costs, and higher national standard of living. Natural, human, and technical resources help determine which products a nation will specialize in. Saudi Arabia is able to specialize in petroleum because it has the necessary natural resource; Japan is able to specialize in production of televisions because it has the human resources required to assemble the numerous components by hand; and the United States is able to specialize in the computer industry because it has the technical expertise necessary for design and production.

There are two economic principles that help explain how and when specialization is advantageous. According to the theory of absolute advantage, a nation ought to specialize in the goods that it can produce more cheaply than its competitors or in the goods that no other nation is able to produce. According to the theory of comparative advantage, a nation ought to concentrate on the products that it can produce both grain and wine cheaply, but it specializes in the one which will be more profitable.

The third benefit of international trade is its political effects. Nations that trade together develop common interests which may help them overcome political differences. Economic cooperation has been the foundation for many political alliances, such as the European Economic Community (Common Market) founded in 1957.

International trade has done much to improve global conditions. It enables countries to import goods they lack or cannot produce domestically. It allows countries to specialize in certain goods with increased production and decreased prices. Finally, it opens the channels of communication between nations.


A. Answer the following questions about international trade. The questions which are starred (*) cannot be answered directly from the text. Space is provided at the end for you to add your own questions.

1. What are the various markets in which the sale of goods and services takes place?

2. What is international trade?

3. What is the first benefit of international trade?

4. What is one commodity that Japan imports? Why?

5. What resources help determine which products a nation will specialize in?

6. Which of these resources is most abundant in your country? *

7. According to the theory of comparative advantage, what should a nation do?

8. Can you give an example to show how this theory has worked in your country? Explain. *

9. What is the third benefit of international trade?

10. 0ther than the Common Market, what are some examples of how economic cooperation has helped overcome political differences? *


B. Circle the letters of the answers that best complete the sentences below.

1. Nations import goods they

  1. produce efficiently
  2. specialize in
  3. lack or cannot produce efficiently
  4. do not need or desire

2. Specialization often resu1ts in

  1. increased output
  2. decreased costs
  3. higher standard of living
  4. all of the above

3. The U.S. is able to specialize in the computer industry because of its ________ resources.

  1. natural
  2. technical
  3. human
  4. international

4. According to the theory of comparative advantage, a nation should concentrate on the product that

  1. it can specialize in
  2. no other nation can produce
  3. it can make efficiently
  4. it can produce most efficiently and profitably

5. The European Economic Community is based on

  1. economic cooperation
  2. one company
  3. economic competition
  4. political differences



A. Substitute appropriate terms for the italicized words or phrases in the sentences below.

global domestic suit expertise resource
output enables lack efficiently scarce


1. Diamonds are found in only a few places in the world; they are rare.

2. The production of the factory increased when ten new workers were hired.

3. Nations that are without technological resources cannot produce their own computer systems.

4. International trade has affected worldwide conditions in numerous ways.

5. Specialist knowledge is necessary to do this job.

6. Many small businesses focus only on the home market.

7. Coal is a valuable asset.

8. International trade makes it possible for countries to import goods that they cannot produce.

В. Pill in the blanks with noun, verb, or adjective forms, Use your dictionary if necessary.

    produced/ productive


C. Use the correct noun form, verb or adjective forms in the sentences. Change the grammatical form of the words if necessary.


  1. A ______ limited the number of workers that could be employed.
  2. Trade ______ not ______ to national markets.
  3. A ______ trade law is one that controls the number of goods imported.


  1. Generally a nation that _______ in certain production can increase output.
  2. Research and development is a _______ area of marketing.
  3. America's _______ in agriculture has made it a leading producer of grain.


  1. The United States _______ coffee.
  2. _______ goods are sometimes subject to a special tax.
  3. The continued American dependence on the ________ of oil is a controversial issue.


  1. The _______ of steel is an important industry in a developed economy.
  2. Managers try to motivate employees to be efficient and ______.
  3. France ______ excellent wines.


a. Because of the weather in California, oranges are a _______ product for it to specialize in.

b. The _______ of a particular specialization is determined by the country’s resources.

  1. Because of its cold climate, Sweden _______ not ______ to specialize in coffee or bananas.

D. Discuss the following questions with a partner. In giving your answers, try to use the italicized terms.

1. What natural resources does your country have?

2. What are some goods your country does not produce domestically?

3. Why doesn't it produce these goods? (Use lack and natural, human, or technical resources in your answer.)

4. Do you think international trade raises the standard of living? Has it raised the standard of living in your country? If so, how?

5. Do you have expertise in any of the business fields? Are there any other areas in which you have expertise, such as in sports, music, or art?

6. What kinds of restrictions, if any, do you think should be placed on international trade?


Some possible results of international trade are listed below. Look at each situation and determine whether it concerns importing or exporting countries. Then decide whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage for those nations. Enter the number of the situation in the appropriate area of the grid.

1. A great variety of goods is available.

2. Foreign competition endangers domestic industries.

3. A larger market is now available.

4. More jobs are created.

5. A nation becomes too dependent upon its foreign markets.

6. Gross National Product (GNP) is increased.

7. A nation becomes too dependent on foreign products.

8. For economic reasons, a country prefers to sell to foreign markets rather than deal with its domestic market.

9. Domestic workers lose employment.

10. A nation imports natural resources rather than depleting its own sources.

11. The international market gets flooded.

12. The national standard of living is raised.


  Importing Nations Exporting Nations



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