International Trade and Economic Growth

By: EconomyWatch   Date: 29 June 2010

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The issues of international trade and economic growth have gained substantial importance with the introduction of trade liberalization policies in the developing nations across the world. International trade and its impact on economic growth crucially depend on globalization. As far as the impact of international trade on economic growth is concerned, the economists and policy makers of the developed and developing economies are divided into two separate groups.

One group of economists is of the view that international trade has brought about unfavorable changes in the economic and financial scenarios of the developing countries. According to them, the gains from trade have gone mostly to the developed nations of the world. Liberalization of trade policies, reduction of tariffs and globalization have adversely affected the industrial setups of the less developed and developing economies. As an aftermath of liberalization, majority of the infant industries in these nations have closed their operations. Many other industries that used to operate under government protection found it very difficult to compete with their global counterparts.

The other group of economists, which speaks in favor of globalization and international trade, come with a brighter view of the international trade and its impact on economic growth of the developing nations. According to them developing countries, which have followed trade liberalization policies, have experienced all the favorable effects of globalization and international trade. China and India are regarded as the trend-setters in this case.

There is no denying that international trade is beneficial for the countries involved in trade, if practiced properly. International trade opens up the opportunities of global market to the entrepreneurs of the developing nations. International trade also makes the latest technology readily available to the businesses operating in these countries. It results in increased competition both in the domestic and global fronts. To compete with their global counterparts, the domestic entrepreneurs try to be more efficient and this in turn ensures efficient utilization of available resources. Open trade policies also bring in a host of related opportunities for the countries that are involved in international trade.

However, even if we take the positive impacts of international trade, it is important to consider that international trade alone cannot bring about economic growth and prosperity in any country. There are many other factors like flexible trade policies, favorable macroeconomic scenario and political stability that need to be there to complement the gains from trade.

There are examples of countries, which have failed to reap the benefits of international trade due to lack of appropriate policy measures. The economic stagnation in the Ivory Coast during the periods of 1980s and 1990s was mainly due to absence of commensurate macroeconomic stability that in turn prevented the positive effects of international trade to trickle down the different layers of society. However, instances like this cannot stand in the way of international trade activities that are practiced across the different nations of the world.

In conclusion it can be said that, international trade leads to economic growth provided the policy measures and economic infrastructure are accommodative enough to cope with the changes in social and financial scenario that result from it.

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