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The economic gains from expanding international trade are measured in hundreds of billions of dollars, and the gains from international trade as a whole probably reach well into the trillions of dollars. The potential for gains from trade may be especially high among the smaller and lower-income countries of the world.

Visit this website for a list of some benefits of trade.

From interpersonal to international trade

Most people find it easy to believe that they, personally, would not be better off if they tried to grow and process all of their own food, to make all of their own clothes, to build their own cars and houses from scratch, and so on. Instead, we all benefit from living in economies where people and firms can specialize and trade with each other.

The benefits of trade do not stop at national boundaries, either. Earlier we explained that the division of labor could increase output for three reasons: (1) workers with different characteristics can specialize in the types of production where they have a comparative advantage; (2) firms and workers who specialize in a certain product become more productive with learning and practice; and (3) economies of scale. These three reasons apply from the individual and community level right up to the international level. If it makes sense to you that interpersonal, intercommunity, and interstate trade offer economic gains, it should make sense that international trade offers gains, too.

International trade currently involves about $20 trillion worth of goods and services moving around the globe. Any economic force of that size, even if it confers overall benefits, is certain to cause disruption and controversy. This chapter has only made the case that trade brings economic benefits. Other chapters discuss, in detail, the public policy arguments over whether to restrict international trade.

It’s apple’s (global) iphone

Apple Corporation uses a global platform to produce the iPhone. Now that you understand the concept of comparative advantage, you can see why the engineering and design of the iPhone is done in the United States. The United States has built up a comparative advantage over the years in designing and marketing products, and sacrifices fewer resources to design high-tech devices relative to other countries. China has a comparative advantage in assembling the phone due to its large skilled labor force. Korea has a comparative advantage in producing components. Korea focuses its production by increasing its scale, learning better ways to produce screens and computer chips, and uses innovation to lower average costs of production. Apple, in turn, benefits because it can purchase these quality products at lower prices. Put the global assembly line together and you have the device with which we are all so familiar.

Key concepts and summary

Tariffs are placed on imported goods as a way of protecting sensitive industries, for humanitarian reasons, and for protection against dumping. Traditionally, tariffs were used as a political tool to protect certain vested economic, social, and cultural interests. The WTO has been, and continues to be, a way for nations to meet and negotiate through barriers to trade. The gains of international trade are very large, especially for smaller countries, but are beneficial to all.

Problems

If trade increases world GDP by 1% per year, what is the global impact of this increase over 10 years? How does this increase compare to the annual GDP of a country like Sri Lanka? Discuss. Hint : To answer this question, here are steps you may want to consider. Go to the World Development Indicators (online) published by the World Bank. Find the current level of World GDP in constant international dollars. Also, find the GDP of Sri Lanka in constant international dollars. Once you have these two numbers, compute the amount the additional increase in global incomes due to trade and compare that number to Sri Lanka’s GDP.

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References

World Trade Organization. “The Doha Round.” Accessed October 2013. http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dda_e/dda_e.htm.

The World Bank. “Data: World Development Indicators.” Accessed October 2013. http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators.

Questions & Answers

accounts in balance of trade
Kamuyu Reply
What is fiscal policy and intrest rates
Attah Reply
income and expenditure
Bittu Reply
Macro economics : it is the study of all aggregate of all economic activities of an economic as whole.
Rajat Reply
what is macro economics
Sarah Reply
it is study of all aggregate of all economic activities of an economic as whole.
Rajat
Macro economics is the aggregate study of national income, investment, price level, changes in economic activities, GDP and economic inflation.
Zahid
hey
Ahmed
how are you
Ahmed
thanks
Ahmed
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Ahmed
what about you
Ahmed
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Ahmed
am fine
Ahmed
what is comparative and superlative advantage? give an example
Xanaan Reply
Methods used to correct trade deficits?
David Reply
what is role capitalism unemployment?
Mafsuud Reply
being unemployment look job but not achieved their being out labor force is person can't work
Mafsuud
being unemployment look job but not achieved their being out labor force is person can't work
Mafsuud
themes studied in economics include?
Patrick Reply
Financial accounting GDP and GNP
Samson Reply
can u explain
Sarah
this means that the demand curve have negative relationship with the price ..which means that when high price low demand of the product and vice versa so higher price will shirnk the demand of product
Ahsan Reply
Higher price level ∴Real value of household wealth increase ∴Net export decrease ∴More money needed, interest rate increase, investment decrease
sirius
net export decrease
Cyril
a person has 60birr to buy two commodities,x and y the price of x is four birr unit the price of y is two birr unit his utility functio given by u=xy+2x determine the budget equation
Mohammed Reply
the budget equation will be- 60 birr= 4x+2y
Ramu
What are the various reasons for the Federal Reserve to increase the fed rates?
AMEEN Reply
What is unemployment
Mijash Reply
Unemployment is a term used to describe people who do not hold a paying job
JASON
what are the causes of unemployment
evans
unemployment refer to the situation in which people searching job but they have no. it also refers in which marginal productivity in zero.
Ramu
Causes of unemployment are: 1: Over Population 2: Break down of the family system 3: Rural/Urban Migration
Umar
unemployment simply means, in the situation where by people are looking for a job and their could achieve it.
Faruk
unemployment is a situation where by one has the ability to work but is not given a job
Sarah
suppose you're the economist of ethiopia; when the country is face high rate of inflation what you recommend as one economist?
Roba Reply
if consumer spend all their incomes on consumption what does it mean?
Roba
if the government spends more of its revenue on development infrastructure from the budget it have and lower tax collection the budget deficit will run why?
Roba
because tax is less than revenue
Bhat

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Source:  OpenStax, Macroeconomics. OpenStax CNX. Jun 16, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11626/1.10
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