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international trade


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Trade in goods and/or services that involves the movement of goods and people across national boundaries, which, in expansionist and anti-protectionist times, increased exchange between societies of different kinds. Sport contributes to such forms of trade in several ways, two of which are sport tourism and image-enhancement of a location, and the operations of transnational corporations (TNCs). Large-scale international sport events such as the Olympics can without doubt prompt new international trade relations, as any executive from a South Korean enterprise entering the global economy after the Seoul 1988 Olympics will testify. The staging and transmission of the Games transformed worldwide perceptions of the effectiveness of the Korean economy, and provided a focus for reworking relationships with the Soviet Union and Eastern European states. Tourism benefits might have been negligible and short-lived, but trade relations were not. China's emergence as a world economic superpower was linked to its desperation to secure the Olympic Games, and during the run-up to Beijing 2008 it joined the World Trade Organization. The operation of transnational corporations also contributes to international trade: Adidas launches new models of its football in the context of high-profile UEFA Champions League matches.

But the scale of internationalism of the operations of the most prominent TNCs remains, to economists, unclear and under-researched. It seems that developed countries (from the North Atlantic Free Trade Association, NAFTA; and the European Union, EU) develop mutual trade in sports goods together:About two-thirds of the NAFTA sports goods trade is with other NAFTA and EU countries; nearly two-thirds of the EU sports goods trade is with other EU and NAFTA countries. Thus, the trade displays a geographical concentration on developed countries just like most manufactured products whose global trade concentrates (approximately 66 per cent), on North–North trade. (Wladimir Andreff, ‘International Trade in Sports Goods’, in Wladimir Andreff and Stefan Szymanski, eds, Handbook on the Economics of Sport, 2006).The founder of the modern Olympic Games, de Coubertin, called sport and his Olympic model of sport the ‘free trade’ of the future. He hardly foresaw the extent to which this has proved true, attractive as the appropriate sporting event, brand, and product have been to national governments, major cities, and transnational corporations. See also sponsorship.

About two-thirds of the NAFTA sports goods trade is with other NAFTA and EU countries; nearly two-thirds of the EU sports goods trade is with other EU and NAFTA countries. Thus, the trade displays a geographical concentration on developed countries just like most manufactured products whose global trade concentrates (approximately 66 per cent), on North–North trade. (Wladimir Andreff, ‘International Trade in Sports Goods’, in Wladimir Andreff and Stefan Szymanski, eds, Handbook on the Economics of Sport, 2006).

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.


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