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After all, environmental protection is vital to two industries of key importance in many low-income countries—agriculture and tourism. Environmental advocates can set up standards for labeling products, like “this tuna caught in a net that kept dolphins safe” or “this product made only with wood not taken from rainforests,” so that consumer pressure can reinforce environmentalist values. These values are also reinforced by the United Nations, which sponsors treaties to address issues such as climate change and global warming, the preservation of biodiversity, the spread of deserts, and the environmental health of the seabed. Countries that share a national border or are within a region often sign environmental agreements about air and water rights, too. The WTO is also becoming more aware of environmental issues and more careful about ensuring that increases in trade do not inflict environmental damage.

Finally, it should be noted that these concerns about the race to the bottom or pressuring low-income countries for more strict environmental standards do not apply very well to the roughly half of all U.S. trade that occurs with other high-income countries. Indeed, many European countries have stricter environmental standards in certain industries than the United States.

The unsafe consumer products argument

One argument for shutting out certain imported products is that they are unsafe for consumers. Indeed, consumer rights groups have sometimes warned that the World Trade Organization would require nations to reduce their health and safety standards for imported products. However, the WTO explains its current agreement on the subject in this way: “It allows countries to set their own standards.” But it also says “regulations must be based on science. . . . And they should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between countries where identical or similar conditions prevail.” Thus, for example, under WTO rules it is perfectly legitimate for the United States to pass laws requiring that all food products or cars sold in the United States meet certain safety standards approved by the United States government, whether or not other countries choose to pass similar standards. However, such standards must have some scientific basis. It is improper to impose one set of health and safety standards for domestically produced goods but a different set of standards for imports, or one set of standards for imports from Europe and a different set of standards for imports from Latin America.

In 2007, Mattel recalled nearly two million toys imported from China due to concerns about high levels of lead in the paint, as well as some loose parts. It is unclear if other toys were subject to similar standards. More recently, in 2013, Japan blocked imports of U.S. wheat because of concerns that genetically modified (GMO) wheat might be included in the shipments. The science on the impact of GMOs on health is still developing.

The national interest argument

Some argue that a nation should not depend too heavily on other countries for supplies of certain key products, such as oil, or for special materials or technologies that might have national security applications. On closer consideration, this argument for protectionism proves rather weak.

Questions & Answers

what is,elasticity
Onome Reply
Marginal utility of money remains the same. it is the assumption of
Anas Reply
Marginal utility of money remains the same. it is the assumption
Anas
Marginal utility of money remains the same. it is the assumption
Anas
marginal utility of money remains constant and as it is the worth of money , therefore it is assumed or we can say ,it is defined by the consumer himself...
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Marshall's demand theory
Avnish
Equilibrium of price is one at which the amount demand is exactly equal to the amount supplied explain
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ABEL Reply
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stedford
the cost of essential goods are lower than that of the non essential ones to make it possibly affordable for each and every class of citizens mainly the poorer ones
Aditi
What is elastic good
Mohamed Reply
what is utility maximisation
Salina
utility maximization Economics concept that, when making a purchase decision, a consumer attempts to get the greatest value possible from expenditure of least amount of money. His or her objective is to maximize the total value derived from the available
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While owning a farm you decided to sell mangoes in fruit market. Draw figure to show the five features of perfect competition applied to your farm.
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Source:  OpenStax, Microeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11627/1.10
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