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place_commodity_project - Geog 323 Latin America and the...

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1 Geog. 323 Latin America and the Caribbean Project: Connecting Commodity and Place in Latin America Commodities are traded internationally, and the neoliberal turn in Latin America has inspired countries to continue exporting traditional commodities or turn to new exports. For nearly all Latin American countries the U.S. is the major trading partner. Commodities, however, are also a means to understand the geographical issues inherent to distant places. This project is designed to answer one straightforward question: What are the major exports to the U.S.? This simple question, in turn, leads to two more complex questions: What places produce these commodities for U.S. markets? What are the geographical characteristics of those places, and the key issues surrounding the commodities produced? This project is designed to help you to answer these questions. Successful completion requires that you follow several steps outlined below. Three class sessions will be devoted to discussing these steps. Learning Objectives and Outcomes Objective Outcome Obtain and transform data -download data to Excel -create tables and graphs in Excel Formulate questions and strategies for obtaining answers -select and justify key commodity as “case” -search for 5-10 sources in newspapers, trade journals, and Internet sources -obtain Google Earth image of commodity “footprint” Assimilate facts -compile material from sources using framework “commodity-place-labor-technology-markets” Critically analyze sources -determine intended audience and bias of sources Communicate effectively -write paper following framework provided -compile findings into 3 PPT slides and present to class in assigned day/time INSTRUCTIONS Part 1: Obtain and transform data A. With my approval by email, chose one country in the Latin America/Caribbean region (except Cuba and small Caribbean countries); you will email me with your first and second choices, and I will reply with the approved country. B. Trade data sources Æ Go to the site http://tse.export.gov/ and look for “National Trade Data” Æ Product Profiles of U.S. Merchandise Trade with a Selected Market Æ select country Æ imports (what a country sells to the U.S., or “exports”) or exports (what a country buys from the U.S., or “imports”) -Use default HS (“Harmonized Section”) for data; note the range of products included in each category; note also that you will explore each
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2 category (1-99) in subsequent queries to figure out what commodities were traded.
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