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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on WTO

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WTO Hits USA


Saturday November 27
Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

The World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday approved a request from the European Union, Japan, Canada, Brazil, India, South Korea and Mexico to impose sanctions on American products. This is in retaliation for damages incurred to industries from those countries due to the US antidumping law known as the Byrd Amendment. This law was ruled illegal by the WTO two years ago, but Washington has continually ignored international requests to comply with the ruling.

The law protects American companies from foreign imports, which are sold in America at prices less than those in their country of manufacture. For example, apples produced and sold in Mexico for $1 apiece are then sold in the USA for 80 cents. US companies receive compensation from the antidumping import taxes levied on the foreign rivals’ goods in an attempt to keep the playing field level for domestic producers. Products to be affected range from live pigs to peanut butter to steel bars.

The countries are ready to hit the United States with up to 150 million US dollars in sanctions early next year if Washington doesn't comply and quickly abolish the Byrd amendment. Although this amount is a drop in the ocean, the WTO action is significant as it involves several countries taking action against America. This could start a trend among countries tired of unilateral American trade practices, and view the USA as an international trade bully.


 
 

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about the WTO, American trading practices, world trade, unilateralism, international trade laws …

2. US GOODS: Brainstorm American made products and write them on the board. Students compare the prices they pay for these products in their country.

3. MY COUNTRY: Students tell each other the kind of trade their country does with America.

4. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:
America is an international trade bully vs. America is the same as other countries
American goods are inferior in quality vs American goods are of excellent quality
America only wants fair world free trade vs America only wants what’s best for America
All import duties should be abolished vs. Import duties protect domestic producers.
Cheaper Mexican apples are fine by me vs. We have to protect jobs in domestic industries

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. ‘TRADE’ / ‘SANCTIONS’ / ‘DUMP’: Look in the dictionary / on Google’s search to find collocates of these words.

2. SYNONYMS: Students match the following synonyms (they may need a dictionary):

approve

follow

impose

tax

retaliate

force upon

ignore

kill

comply

OK

levy

see

hit

fight back

abolish

hammer

view

disregard


3. TRUE/FALSE: Students predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:
(a)  The WTO approved a request to impose sanctions on American products.   T / F
(b)  A similar WTO action was taken two years ago.  T / F
(c)  The USA always follows WTO rulings.  T / F
(d)  The Byrd Agreement protects American companies from foreign imports.  T / F
(e)  Mexican apple growers will be happy. T / F
(f)  US companies receive no compensation from antidumping import taxes.  T / F
(g)  The WTO ruling affects peanut butter. T / F
(h)  The value of the sanctions represent a drop in the river.  T / F
(i)  The USA is an international trade bully  T / F

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases taken from the article:

approve a

for

impose

level

in retaliation

compensation from

country of

request from

receive

among

keep the playing field

the ocean

a drop in

sanctions on

start a trend

manufacture

 .


 
 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

WTO hits USA

The World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday ________ a request from the European Union, Japan, Canada, Brazil, India, South Korea and Mexico to impose sanctions on American products. This is in retaliation for damages ________ to industries from those countries due to the US antidumping law ________ as the Byrd Amendment. This law was ________ illegal by the WTO two years ago, but Washington has continually ________ international requests to comply with the ruling.

incurred          ignored           approved          known          ruled

The law ________ American companies from foreign imports, which are sold in America at prices less than those in their country of manufacture. For example, apples produced and sold in Mexico for $1 ________ are then sold in the USA for 80 cents. US companies receive compensation from the antidumping import taxes ________ on the foreign rivals’ goods in an attempt to keep the playing ________ level for domestic producers. Products to be affected ________ from live pigs to peanut butter to steel bars.

range          protects          field          levied          apiece

The countries are ________ to hit the United States with up to 150 million US dollars in sanctions ________ next year if Washington doesn't comply and quickly abolish the Byrd amendment. Although this ________ is a drop in the ocean, the WTO action is significant as it involves several countries taking action against America. This could start a trend among countries ________ of unilateral American trade practices, and view the USA as an international trade ________.

bully          early           amount          ready          tired

 

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the word match exercise.

4. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

5. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. WTO LEADERS: Brainstorm problems of world trade.
(a) Pairs are assigned different problems and create a series of measures to combat the problem. Change pairs and explain your problem and measures.
(b) All pairs assigned the same problem. After coming up with their measures in pairs, they give a presentation to the class (followed by Q&A) after which a vote is taken for which is the best solution.
(c) Take one problem. Half the pairs are WTO leaders, the other half are American protectionists. Brainstorm arguments to be used in a discussion. Change pairs to match WTO member / US protectionist against each other. Argue. Following the arguments, talk about your real feelings about what you said in the argument.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the WTO. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. UNILATERALISM: George W. Bush’s administration has been accused of being too unilateral. Choose one example from the following and make a poster outlining why the world would see that action as being unilateral: the War on Iraq, Kyoto Protocol on global warming, Steel Import duties, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, International Criminal Court,  .

4. LETTER TO GEORGE W.: Write a letter to the President of the United States of America voicing your opinion about American trade practices.

ANSWERS

SYNONYMS:

approve

OK

impose

force upon

retaliate

fight back

ignore

disregard

comply

follow

levy

tax

hit

hammer

abolish

kill

view

see

TRUE/FALSE

(a)  The WTO approved a request to impose sanctions on American products.   T
(b)  A similar WTO action was taken two years ago.  T
(c)  The USA always follows WTO rulings.  F
(d)  The Byrd Agreement protects American companies from foreign imports.  T
(e)  Mexican apple growers will be happy. T
(f)  US companies receive no compensation from antidumping import taxes.  F
(g)  The WTO ruling affects peanut butter. T
(h)  The value of the sanctions represent a drop in the river.  F
(i)  The USA is an international trade bully  ?

PHRASE MATCH:

approve a

request from

impose

sanctions on

in retaliation

for

country of

manufacture

receive

compensation from

keep the playing field

level

a drop in

the ocean

start a trend

among

GAP FILL:

The World Trade Organization (WTO) yesterday approved a request from the European Union, Japan, Canada, Brazil, India, South Korea and Mexico to impose sanctions on American products. This is in retaliation for damages incurred to industries from those countries due to the US antidumping law known as the Byrd Amendment. This law was ruled illegal by the WTO two years ago, but Washington has continually ignored international requests to comply with the ruling.

The law protects American companies from foreign imports, which are sold in America at prices less than those in their country of manufacture. For example, apples produced and sold in Mexico for $1 apiece are then sold in the USA for 80 cents. US companies receive compensation from the antidumping import taxes levied on the foreign rivals’ goods in an attempt to keep the playing field level for domestic producers. Products to be affected range from live pigs to peanut butter to steel bars.

The countries are ready to hit the United States with up to 150 million US dollars in sanctions early next year if Washington doesn't comply and quickly abolish the Byrd amendment. Although this amount is a drop in the ocean, the WTO action is significant as it involves several countries taking action against America. This could start a trend among countries tired of unilateral American trade practices, and view the USA as an international trade bully.

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