TRADE 7007 - MNCs, Trade & Sustainable Development

North Terrace Campus - Trimester 3 - 2017

This course explores the growth and role of global firms and their significant interaction with the international trade architecture. It discusses how trade and investment opportunities are vital to the ongoing growth and sustainability of firms and why trade agreements can have a substantial impact on the investments and trade strategies used by Multinational Corporations (MNCs). The course reviews and develops understanding of key concepts of corporate social responsibility, triple-bottom line accounting, sustainability reporting and risk management in terms of their current relevance to the trade and investment decisions of global firms. Students are offered a unique insight into how contemporary multinational businesses are dealing with both internal (such as transparency and management issues) as well as external risk factors (such as poverty and environmental challenges), with the aim of enabling students to undertake a balanced and critical analysis of the future role of MNCs in contributing to sustainable development outcomes.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code TRADE 7007
    Course MNCs, Trade & Sustainable Development
    Coordinating Unit Institute for International Trade
    Term Trimester 3
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 3 x 1.5 day intensive modules with online learning
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Case study, comparative analysis & research report
    Course Staff
    Name: Mr Peter Gallagher
    Role: Course Coordinator and Associate Expert, IIT
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
    1 Understand theoretical basis and discuss the evidence for the role firms play in driving trade and the impact this has on productivity growth in the economy

    2 Discuss the nature of the choices firms make about the form of their international marketing (trade, investment, licensing)
    3 Explain the structure and role of MNEs in trade
    4 Understand, review analyse the economic and social environment in which MNEs operate
    5 Understand and explain the relationship between firms and the global trade architecture 
    6 Analyse and evaluate policy issues affecting trading firms such as regulatory impediments ('trade facilitation'), corruption and bribery, competition policy and cartel behaviour
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Required readings will be provided online via MyUni. 

    Recommended Resources
    Students will find it helpful to consult the relevant chapters of a good recent international economics textbook (e.g."International Economics: Theory and Policy (10th Edition) " Paul R. Krugman, Maurice Obstfeld and Marc Melitz) on the theory of "heterogenous firms" and the relationship of this modern view to classical theories of trade.

    A highly-recommended (gentle) introduction to these ideas can be found on-line in the "Marginal Revolution University" video-courses by Tyler Cowan and Alex Tabarok (George Washington University) at: "International Trade and the Firm" (Parts 1 and 2) are especially relevant.
    Online Learning
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The three modules will provide an interactive environment of presentations, discussion and debate. Throughout the course there will be lectures and/or video presentations from the course coordinator and invited guest speakers followed by group workshops and discussions, student presentations and a possible visit to a global firm operating in South Australia. Active debate around the future of global firms and their role in sustainable trade and development will be strongly encouraged.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The Institute expects students undertaking this elective to attend each of the three modules. This course comprise of approximately 36 contact hours (structured learning). In addition to time spent in class, students in TRADE 7007 are expected to devote an additional 120 non-contact hours to study in this course.
    Learning Activities Summary

    Module 1

    > In this course we are going to take a closer look at how trade takes place and the role of private firms, not only in making it happen but in delivering the economy-wide benefits of trade

    * Exchange makes the world go round
    * See *Exchange and Wealth*
    * Where do the economy-wide benefits come from?
    * See *Trade Theory Old and New*
    * Current trade theories are based on evidence about "heterogeneous firms"
    * How many and what kinds of firms decide to trade?
    * What do we know about the differences between productive trading firms and others?
    * See *Firms Structure and Partcipation in Trade*
    * Why do MNEs exist?
    * Investment vs Trade
    * Licensing and transaction costs
    * Export or invest?
    * Clusters and aggregation
    * Industry economies of scale and heterogeneous firms

    Module 2

    > The history and development of international business.To understand how things are --- and how they might turn out --- you need to ask how they got that way

    * See: *A Short History Of MNEs*
    * See: *The World Economy and MNEs since 1945*
    * Pre-modern (Charter companies)
    * First 'globalization' before the Great War
    * Great Depression to 1960s
    * US Models predominate
    * Self-determination (decolonisation) and MNEs
    * "Exploitation"
    * "De-industrialization"
    * "Social responsibility"
    * See *MNEs, Social Responsibility & Trade*
    * Anti-capitalist outbursts
    * Resources, "Club of Rome", envrionment
    * What did the "Asian Tigers" discover?
    * Second Globalization
    * The stagnation of trade since 2010
    * Official agreements
    * See: *MNEs, Multilateral Trade and Investment Treaties*
    * Business role
    * Cooption, coertion
    * WTO
    - Largely inaccessible, not especially relevant to business interests
    - Except to the extent the agreements constrain governments
    * Investment agreements and disputes ('expropriation')
    * ISDS provisions in FTAs

    Module 3

    > Captialism (McCloskey's 'trade-tested betterment') works as a system when competition is vigorous and prices offer both investment signals and incentives to perform. Firms may seek to avoid competitive pressures by collusion; in the case of international trade governments sometimes give firms incentives to do so. Government regulations may weaken the benefits of competition in other ways, too; for example by tying competitors up in 'red tape'.

    * Competition and its limits
    * National treatment, red-tape
    - WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation
    * Official corruption
    - 'Facilitation' payments and bribery
    * International and national regulation of corrupt practices
    * International cartels
    - OECD & Doha round 'competition' proposals
    * Private international infrastructure
    * Commercial credits and banking standards
    * Commercial arbitration and mediation (the ICC 'Court')
    - Recognition of international awards
    * Industrial and marketing standards
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    In keeping with the practical, rather than theoretical orientation of this elective, we will assess students on their class participation, in class tests, presentations and the successful completion of their assignments. Details of the assignments will be discussed with students in the first session of the course. The assessment components are as follows:
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Assignment 1: Critical Analysis Summative


    5% 1,2
    Assignment 2: Comparative Analysis Summative TBC 20% 3,4,5
    Assignment 3: Investigative Resarch Presentation & Report:
    (a) Presentation
    (b) Major Report
    Summative TBC (a) 5%
    (b) 65%
    Participation in all three modules Summative - 5% 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Assessment Detail
    Detailed information will be provided in the class and made available in MyUni.
    Assignments must be submitted as follows:

    1. Softcopy through Turnitin on MyUni

    All assignments must be presented professionally with clear headings, appropriate referencing and using one and a half spacing.

    Extensions will only be granted if requests are received in writing to the course coordinator at least 24 hours before the final due date unless they are requested on medical or compassionate grounds and are supported by appropriate documents. Late assignments will be penalised.

    Your assignment must include the IIT assignment cover sheet which can be downloaded from MyUni under “Assignments”. Each page must be numbered with your student ID and name.

    Please contact the course coordinator, preferably by email, for assistance or guidance in relation to course work, assignments or any concerns that may arise. Assignments will normally be returned two weeks after they have been submitted.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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