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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

just try to elucidate
Aadil Reply
just try to elucidate something
would you explain
what is elasticity, perfectly elastic, inelastic
Rue Reply
When 01 the demand is elastic
when demand curve is horizental the curve is perfectly elastic ...when demand curve is vertical then it is perfectly inelastic
elasticity means that percentage change in quantity demanded due to percentage change in price
introduction to elasticity of demand
Dalhatu Reply
what is price commonly called in the labour market
Explain demand curve
price in labour market is Marginal Physical Productivity...
what is the price of elasticity of demand
Mahesh Reply
it is the responsiveness of a certain good. and it is calculated as follows: PED=%change in quantity demanded /%change in price
what is per capita income
Kafwimbi Reply
what is GDP of an economy
Gross Domestic Product
What are the factors that drive exchange rates?
Why is scarcity the main problem of economics
Nicholas Reply
Because of unlimited needs and wants demanded by the household
what is GDP deflator?
Because of endless needs and wants required to achieve maximum satisfaction possible by consumers
how to calculate price elasticity demand?
Precious Reply
change in quantity over quantity divided by change in price over price
Percentage change in quantity demanded over the percentage change in price
if the local pizzeria raises the price of a medium pizza from Rd.60to 100 & quantity demanded falls from 700 pizzas a night to 100 pizzas at night , the price elasticity of demand for pizzas is:
Lakshmi Reply
1.2. Measurement of price Elasticity of demand
Lakshmi tell me how wrong am I coz I see you've got different answer from mine?
explain how price and output are determind by a discriminating monopolist
Hiraj Reply
price and output determined through interaction between demand curve and supply curve...
how do I view the graphs
Patricia Reply
how do I open the links
what is the markert
Ester Reply
A market is any place where buying and selling can take place.
20. Why is a football game on ESPN a quasi-public good but a game on the NBC, CBS, or ABC is a public good?
Brigam Reply
how people make decision?
Xafsa Reply
what is supply and demand
Xafsa Reply
Demand refers to how much (quantity) of a product or service is desired by buyers. The quantity demanded is the amount of a product people are willing to buy at a certain price.
thank you very much
list and briefly explain the three principles that describe how the economy as whole works?

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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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