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What is something that is imported to the United States from a foreign country that...

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted November 7, 2011 at 3:18 AM via web

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What is something that is imported to the United States from a foreign country that would be a good choice to do a project about regulations on?

It could be anything because after you tell me I have to do some research on it like finding out if there are regulations regarding the product that would have to be aware of before it is imported etc.  But could someone tell me an easy one to write about please?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 7, 2011 at 3:23 AM (Answer #2)

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My first inclination is to say that you should do this on automobiles.  There are so many cars imported to the US and cars are such an important part of people's lives that you know there will be a lot of regulations.  For example, there are going to be all sorts of regulations about safety features that must be followed.

Another thing that you could look at would be some sort of agricultural product.  Bananas would be a good one since they are all imported.  You could also do grapes.

I think one of those things would be good because there should be a lot of regulations and they should be relatively easy to understand.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2011 at 6:45 AM (Answer #3)

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The first thing I thought of was automobiles as well. Outside of that, I would think that agriculture is another product which should be regulated. Recently, with the boom in pharmaceutical drugs coming in from other countries, via the Internet, would be a wonderful place to start. These drugs are not regulated at all (or not that I am aware of). They would certainly need to be regulated given the orders are typically placed based upon the drugs being so easily obtainable in other countries.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:05 AM (Answer #4)

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All good ideas expressed so far.  Food imports have soared with the advent of globalization, but labor and environmental conditions in other countries often do not meet expectations in the US.  You could also look at the importation of toys (Burger King and McDonald's meal toys, for example, which have often been recalled due to safety issues), in particular from China, and what safety regulations are in place to protect consumers.

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:37 AM (Answer #5)

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These are all good ideas! I might add that Petroleum (Oil) is still heavily imported from the Middle East and there are regulations and tariffs galore!  Another group of products that are being imported are Electronics. We bring in televisions, computers, video games, stereos, radios, cameras, etc. from Asia (namely Japan) and there are some regulations and tariffs that go along with them. We still import rubber from Indonesia, coffee from Central America, wine from Europe, tea from Asia and Europe, and nuts from all over! All of them have some type of regulation and/or tariffs that must be dealt with.

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2011 at 8:48 AM (Answer #6)

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Another possibility would be apparel. There has been lots of coverage over the years about exploitation in the shoe industry and/or by other types of clothing manufacturers.

Take some or all of the areas suggested in these posts and do some quick searches to determine how much information about the regulations and restrictions you can locate. That may help you make your final choice for your focus product.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2011 at 9:05 AM (Answer #7)

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I think petroleum, as mentioned above, would be a good topic because of all the political baggage it carries. It also has major foreign policy implications that are more serious than those involved in other imports. You'd certainly find the most heated political discussions about it. Many of the other manufactured goods mentioned above come from China, and an interesting sidenote on them might be the recent attempts by the US to influence China's currency manipulation in order to gain a better trade balance. Another topic not mentioned above might be importation of ready to assemble furniture, which, along with textiles, put a lot of people out of work in the area where I live.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM (Answer #8)

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Another great topic can be to study steel imports. In the past the United States used to manufacture a lot of steel, but now the industry is pretty much dead. Think about it, the Pittsburgh Steelers were named after he steel industry. This seismic shifts will have many implications about our economy. In connection to this, you can ask the question of whether we will ever be an economy based on manufacturing.

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM (Answer #9)

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How about literature? I've noticed a huge boom in imported books in the last decade. With better translation and a larger market for foreign ideas, novels like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Battle Royale have made for high sales and critical approval. My biggest beef with imported books is usually the translation; many translators are not very good writers, and it shows. However, since we do a good trade in exporting our bestsellers to other countries, it makes sense that we also welcome good books from around the world. I've also noticed that while books may originate in other countries, the manufacture of books (illustrations, covers, printing, binding, distribution) is usually done here in the States; one of the few industries that I still see a reliable "Made (Printed) in the USA" on is books.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 7, 2011 at 8:34 PM (Answer #10)

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My personal choice would be food products, as thanks to globalisation we have had our culinary tastebuds exposed to a whole range of different kinds of foods from all over the world. You might like to investigate a product that is controversial in some ways, such as bananas, and look into the actual methods and practices of farming those products and how the workers are treated. I remember reading a report about this particular crop and the way that workers' rights were abused with some plantations spraying insecticide on workers resulting in their sterility.

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boblawrence | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:44 AM (Answer #11)

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You mention wanting a product that would be easy to write about.  I am not sure what you mean by easy, but I assume you are looking for something on which there is a lot of information easily accessed, and easy to understand and communicate.

In this category, I would recommend pharmaceuticals.  There are many restrictions on the importation of drugs, involving quality, effectiveness and safety.  There are also issues of tariffs and licensing.

You could find plenty of material for a good discussion on these matters by researching the Internet availability of Canadian drugs for American patients.

I would suggest picking one highly popular drug such as the anti-cholesterol medication Lipitor, or one of the erectile dysfunction drugs.  You should include in your discussion any difference in regulations for drugs that are merely sold across international boarders via mail order, versus drugs that are actually imported to the U.S. and then sold here.

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