Global Q&A: ‘Has globalization affected the availability of goods where you live?’

December 2, 2009 Updated: December 2, 2009

Globalization is the word to describe what’s available on local store shelves these days, with foreign products often more available than local ones, sometimes driving prices up and sometimes down. This is what Epoch Times reporters from The Netherlands to Australia discovered when they asked locals around the world, “With global trade increasing, has this changed what food and other products are available where you live?”

Mary Regi, Bangalore, India
Mary Regi, Bangalore, India

Bangalore, India
Mary Regi, Nutrition Teacher

Yes, global trade has definitely changed a variety of things where I live. Food products that I have seen abroad, like flavored sauces, tinned tuna, Pringles, Danish Cookies, mayonnaise, a variety of salad dressings, chocolates, Pam olive oil are all now available at a nearby supermarket. Cosmetics, counter cleaners like “Jif” are available in the name of “Cif” here, tissue boxes that have Arabic names are sold here, imported hair dyes, latest technology like sophisticated food cutters, measuring spoons, nut crackers, corkscrew openers, rotating discs for dining tables are all very easily available.

Caterina Cavaliere, Italy
Caterina Cavaliere, Italy

Italy
Caterina Cavaliere, 22, Breakfast Bar Worker and Industrial Design Student

If we are talking about food, I see a lot of new products available here. Many different types of sauces, rice, Mexican and Spanish products, and many more products from different places of the world have arrived, but I don’t eat it, and I cannot remember one special product for me now. I haven’t changed my normal eating habits. If we are talking about clothes, we have Chinese products throughout Italy. Now, Italian products cost more and many of these products we have difficulty finding. Other products, especially Chinese products, have a low cost.

Javed Mustafa, Lahore, Pakistan
Javed Mustafa, Lahore, Pakistan

Lahore, Pakistan
Javed Mustafa, 63, Businessman

Food is still mostly local, but other products are being heavily imported. We have a lot of Chinese goods in our markets, for example, household products, electronics, clothes, etc. Most of this stuff comes from China. There is a market right here [pointing 20 feet away] called China Prayer Market. Then we have sugar and wheat being imported now from aboard and it is more expensive.

 

 

Diosdado Mbula, Gran Canaria, Spain
Diosdado Mbula, Gran Canaria, Spain

Gran Canaria, Spain
Diosdado Mbula, 44, Student

Yes, for sure it has changed and it’s easier for me to find and buy goods that used to be difficult to get in the past. I’m thinking, especially, on books that I need for studying in certain fields; I’m interested too, that now, one way or another, sooner or later, you can get most of them.

 

 

 

 

Jan Stros, Liberec, Czech Republic
Jan Stros, Liberec, Czech Republic

Liberec, Czech Republic
Jan Štros, 22, Student and Self-employed

Definitely, the change is visible. There are various advertisements on TV or the Internet. People are buying new products. Also the food, the new restaurants that have been opening here.

 

 

 

 

 

Antonia Castro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Antonia Castro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Antônia Castro, 65, Housewife

Yes, the availability of everything has increased, food, clothing, etc. But I get only a minimum wage and everything is more expensive nowadays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Boutilier, Victoria, BC, Canada
Joseph Boutilier, Victoria, BC, Canada

Victoria, BC, Canada
Joseph Boutilier, 19 Aspiring Film Maker/Youth Engagement Worker

I think, more than what’s available, is what’s available to everyone because … some products are a lot cheaper. Pretty much everyone can afford some version of everything, but in their hands to buy local products, or the sort of things that have been available and relatively cheaper for a long time, sometimes are not anymore because of the added competition from overseas trading.

 

 

Artur Kubiszyn, Warsaw, Poland
Artur Kubiszyn, Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw, Poland
Artur Kubiszyn, 27, Historian

Availability is wide; it’s a wide range of products coming from various corners of the world, global “production.” In my opinion, the selection of products and articles of prime necessity such as food is huge, sometimes even “plenteous.” But on the other hand, there exists a pursuit to fulfill in surplus and people’s needs overload … In big supermarkets and hypermarkets … you can often find products and food coming from different parts of the world. In smaller shops, there is smaller access to these things. I stand for products coming from our country—production Made in Poland—“Teraz Polska” (“Now Poland”), but it happens that I also buy products or food which come from … other corners like China, USA, European Union, Russia, etc.

Sanne Bontenbal, Haarlem, The Netherlands
Sanne Bontenbal, Haarlem, The Netherlands

Haarlem, The Netherlands
Sanne Bontenbal, Waitress

I think after the Dutch United East India Company time the global trade has been increasing. It does not really have impact on the availability of different food. There are more different products in the supermarkets, like Eastern foods, but Dutch Companies make those foods. What I notice is that due to more people from other countries moving to The Netherlands, there are, for example, more Chinese and Turkish restaurants.

 

 

Andre Keyzer, Gold Coast, Australia
Andre Keyzer, Gold Coast, Australia

Gold Coast, Australia
Andre Keyzer, 48, Tyre Shop Owner

Basically, every time I go shopping all the grocery prices are crawling through the roof. I notice considerable increases in a lot of vegetables, especially in the greens. They’re always blaming the weather and stuff like that, but I think it’s that the major supermarkets are a bit greedy, I reckon, cutting the farmers out. All our tire parts come from overseas; the majors have decided that it was cheaper to get them made over there and brought back into the country … The way it’s going, everything is going to be made overseas … I think over a period of time, I believe Korea will become one of the global powers for manufacturing. At the moment everything’s made in China.

Jennifer Jackson, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Jennifer Jackson, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vancouver, BC, Canada
Jennifer Jackson, 30, Student, Vancouver Film School

I’d say so, yeah. Being a coastal city, we have a lot of things being imported and exported. Also, being an international city, there’s a bigger demand.

 

 

 

Look for the Global Q&A column every week, when Epoch Times correspondents interview people around the world to learn about their lives and perspectives on local and global realities. Next week’s global question: “What are your plans for the upcoming festive season—Christmas, New Years, or any other holiday at this time of year?”