Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Trade Rules, a Role Play Pack from Christian Aid

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Trade Rules, a Role Play Pack from Christian Aid

Article excerpt

Trade Rules, a role play pack from Christian Aid, L4.99 + p. and p., tel 020 7523 2270.

"International trade is now worth over L7 million a minute, and growing. But instead of bringing prosperity, trade rules, shaped by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), often cause injustice and poverty making the world's poorest people poorer." Says Christian Aid (CA).

To flesh out this claim the charity has launched a roleplaying simulation game with background information, leader's notes and photocopiable templates "to discover how the World Trade Organisation works and experience the frustrations of an unjust trading system." Playing time is approximately 90 minutes, for 16-34 players.

To get the best out of Trade Rules players need a basic understanding of the WTO as a forum where countries establish trading rules, along with an awareness of issues such as intellectual property rights, drug brands, patents, and the role of NGOs.

Participants 'role play' different countries, or trade blocks eg the EU. The game is played in three rounds during which they must produce goods for sale on the International Market. During rounds one and two, meetings of the WTO are held, where players vote on options for new trade rules. These rules will affect trading in subsequent rounds.

Countries use the money they have gained from production to buy air tickets to send delegates to the two WTO meetings. The amount they earn will determine how many delegates they can afford to send. These delegates will seek to influence decisions on trade, such as laws affecting agriculture or the creation of patents.

However, some countries (USA & EU) are given an advantage and receive confidential information before a negotiation round. For CA "this represents real-life negotiations from which poor countries are excluded and specialist knowledge to which they do not have access. …

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