In Sean’s Ships: Bringing the World Together, Sean and Robot are on a mission to sell custard creams across the world and with the help of the Captain, have been learning all about ships and world trade.
In this series of Sean’s Ships we’ve been learning all about international trade – that’s the way different countries exchange stuff. A bit like the way you might trade things with friends in Minecraft.
This episode looks at what free trade is.
So what is free trade?
Free trade is when a country can buy things from other countries without fees or restrictions. For example, some countries might say for every custard cream you export there, you need to pay a fee of one pence. This wouldn’t count as free trade. Another country, though, might say you can export as many custard creams as you want and not worry about paying any fee. This would count as free trade.
However, even countries that support free trade might have some restrictions. They might stop people exporting dangerous items and things that are illegal in their country.
Some countries ban things that might seem odd to us. For example Nigeria have a ban on importing spaghetti!
Some countries ban imports of things they think should be made in their country to try and create jobs. It isn’t just spaghetti that’s been turned away. Nigeria also ban suitcases, toothpicks and even ball point pens.Embed from Getty Images
Did you know the USA have a ban on Kinder Surprise eggs? The USA have a ban on any food item containing a non-food item. Kinder Eggs contain a toy surrounded by chocolate and so it breaks this rule.
Are restrictions good or bad?
Some people think restrictions are bad and we should all have free trade but there are some benefits to restrictions. Imagine you have a custard cream factory in the UK and are trying to sell to the shop down the road, but custard creams from another country might be cheaper. If those countries had to pay a fee to import them here, then it’s more likely that shops would stock goods made in the UK.
So you see, there’s advantages to both free trade and trade restrictions!