The research and writing assignments for this course are two.

The first involves preparing for and presenting to the class an oral report on one major commodity involved in international trade. That report is to last 15 minutes, so you have to prepare in advance to cover the really important aspects of the topic. You are urged to provide the other students with copies of an outline of your remarks and pages of supporting materials, including maps and data. The instructor will help with Xeroxing. The precise commodity will be decided upon in consultation with the instructor.

Each report will attempt to cover the following aspects of a commodity:

I. Actors – states (exporting and importing), corporations,
international organizations, NGOs

II. Nature of the market-
How are prices determined? By whom? Where? Have other
schemes been proposed?
Price trends over time
Impact of recycling?

III. Political considerations
Governments; stability; intervening factors
Strategic questions – security of production areas & shipping routes
Environmental challenges & issues (in production, handling & shipping)

IV. The future: Short-range prospects, long-range prospects

The second writing assignment is to write a critique of an opinion piece that I will distribute in class. Your critique can be either positive or negative, but I want you to come to grips with the arguments raised in the opinion piece. Your submission is to be no longer than 6 pages, double-spaced. I want to see your ability to address arguments head on. You may have to do some independent research to locate data to strengthen your own arguments, so give yourself time in advance of the deadline.

This paper is due February 2, 2005.