I will first start by providing some information about the case study. The United States banned the importation of shrimp caught in ways that harm endangered sea turtles. This ban was applied both to United States shrimpers and to shrimpers abroad. For shrimp to be acceptable for market in the United States, the shrimp had to be caught in nets that use turtle excluder devices (TEDs). Numerous other countries feel like it is unfair for them to have to abide by these rules that the United States have put in place. (Kubasek & Silverman, 2014). The World Trade Organization is the governing body over free trade across the world. Environmentalists believe that the World Trade Organization should enforce the rule the United States put in place, but the other countries may or may not have the money or resources to procure the turtle excluder devices in order to profit from the shrimp.
I believe that every environmental rule or law put into place does have an effect on the profit of the shrimp industry. I can’t decide exactly where I am on this dilemma because I firmly believe that a country should be able to do what they want, but I also do not want the environment harmed in the process. Prior to knowing about the World Trade Organization I believed the United States should just not purchase from countries who did not follow the rules, but I learned that with the World Trade Organization in place we have to purchase from those countries, so that makes it hard for me to decide if I believe the World Trade Organization should amend to address the concerns of environmentalists. Ultimately, I believe that we should harvest the shrimp the way that we believe is the best for the environment and let the other countries perform their shrimp harvesting how they decide and not amend the World Trade Organization to address the concerns of the environmentalists. I guess I am more of a capitalists than an environmentalist.
If the World Trade Organization amended the rules to require the turtle excluder devices it would take much more resources to ensure that process and production methods (PPMs) are being used. I don’t think we should regulating process and production methods because it will be a very difficult thing to do. There would have to be someone performing audits and inspections on other countries process and production methods, which will drive the price of the already expensive shrimp up. Driving the cost up from overhead could possibly then lower the amount of shrimp sold and hurt all countries shrimp profits. I believe we would have much more of a chance to get the other countries to change their process and production methods if we showed them the benefits of change instead of just telling them they have to do something.
I think there may be a fallacy with the environmentalist’s argument. I question whether or not that they know for sure the other countries are harming or killing the endangered sea turtles. The United States may have a larger population of the sea turtles than other countries do. Without knowing actual statistics of sea turtles harmed by other countries the environmentalists are only assuming that they are being harmed or killed. Just because there is a large number harmed or killed in the United States does not mean that there are large numbers harmed or killed in the other countries.
If there was some more information about the number of sea turtles being harmed or killed provided then myself and others may could get behind the argument for the World Trade Organization to amend rules to address the concerns of the environmentalists. I would need to see the actual numbers of sea turtles harmed or killed by the other countries in order for me to change my mind. If the number is very large, then I would be more apt to support the environmentalist’s argument.
I believe free trade will help the poorer countries make money and in turn they will be able to provide better resources for their countries. More money, means upgrades to structures, quality of life for their countrymen, and money to spend on their environments. The countries may make enough money to start a program to save the sea turtles, which may save more than the turtle excluder devices.
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BEM 0331 Unit VII Case Study.docx