I’m soon to be discussing with my students the topic of ‘trading patterns’, and so I’ve been visiting the WTO to download their latest statistics on world trade to aid class discussion. Read on to discover these and some other useful resources for teaching trading patterns.

As part of a discussion in groups, I hand out trade data on selected world regions from this WTO document and ask each group, for their region, to make notes on A3 paper about the following key issues:

- Who are the main export customers?
- What are the main products exported?
- How has trade changed between 2000 and 2009?

They then have to present their findings back to the rest of the class, which must make their own notes based on these presentations. The key findings usually revolve around the fact that most trade is actually relatively local, and also that the less developed parts of the world are much less involved in world trade.

This issue, in particular, continues to be discussed in the highlights from the WTO’s annual trade statistics, which can be downloaded here and is something I particularly like as it explains key points in a very clear and concise way with suitable graphs to make the points crystal clear. I normally convert this into a leaflet and print it out for all the students.

A final issue which I’m sure many students will be familiar with is the rise of China as a global trading powerhouse, and so I normally make use of this article from The Economist, coupled with the following two questions:

1.) With reference to the information provided, why are some countries more dependent on trade with China than others?
(8 marks)

2.) Evaluate the importance of continuing rapid economic growth in China to world GDP growth
(12 marks)

Overall, I’m planning on spending about two lessons on trading patterns and, if you’re interested in downloading my complete powerpoint which includes some more graphs of world trade, it can be downloaded here.


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