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What is Foreign Trade?

Foreign trade can be considered a number of different things, depending on the type of trade one is talking about. Generally speaking, foreign trade means trading goods and services that are destined for a country other than their country of origin. Foreign trade can also be investing in foreign securities, though this is a less common use of the term. Foreign trade is all about imports and exports. The backbone of any foreign trade between nations are those products and services which are being traded to some other location outside a particular country's borders. Some nations are adept at producing certain products at a cost-effective price. Perhaps it is because they have the labor supply or abundant natural resources which make up the raw materials needed. No matter what the reason, the ability of some nations to produce what other nations want is what makes foreign trade work. In some cases, the products produced in a foreign trade situation are very similar to other products being produced around the world, at least in their raw form. Therefore, these products, known as commodities, are often pooled together in one mass market and sold. This is called trading commodities. The most common commodities often sold in foreign trade are oil and grain. There are a number of issues with imports and exports that must be taken into consideration when conducting foreign trade. For example, some countries have industries they may want to protect. These industries may be in competition with foreign companies for the opportunity to sell products domestically. To protect domestic trade, countries may institute tariffs, which are taxes on certain foreign goods. While this is a way to generate revenue, its real value lies in helping those domestic companies. For example, to encourage domestic production of ethanol in the United States, a tariff has been imposed on Brazilian ethanol. This protects the ethanol market in the United States, which would not otherwise be able to compete with Brazilian ethanol based on cost. In Brazil, ethanol is made from sugar, which produces far more ethanol gallons per acre than corn, the primary crop used for ethanol in the United States. In addition to tariffs, currency issues are another factor in foreign trade. Some companies selling products overseas prefer to be paid in a certain type of currency, such as the US Dollar or Euro. This protects the company in case the country involved in a trade experiences a rapid devaluation in currency. Most foreign trade will always involve a relatively stable currency. International Trade and Economic Growth 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.


However. However. have experienced all the favorable effects of globalization and international trade. According to them developing countries. Liberalization of trade policies. reduction of tariffs and globalization have adversely affected the industrial setups of the less developed and developing economies. even if we take the positive impacts of international trade. International trade opens up the opportunities of global market to the entrepreneurs of the developing nations. There are examples of countries. 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. 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. To compete with their global counterparts. There is no denying that international trade is beneficial for the countries involved in trade. Open trade policies also bring in a host of related opportunities for the countries that are involved in international trade. majority of the infant industries in these nations have closed their operations. According to them. which have failed to reap the benefits of international trade due to lack of appropriate policy measures. International trade also makes the latest technology readily available to the businesses operating in these countries.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. In conclusion it can be said that. Many other industries that used to operate under government protection found it very difficult to compete with their global counterparts. instances like this cannot stand in the way of international trade activities that are practiced across the different nations of the world. which have followed trade liberalization policies. if practiced properly. favorable macroeconomic scenario and political stability that need to be there to complement the gains from trade. 2 . the gains from trade have gone mostly to the developed nations of the world. There are many other factors like flexible trade policies. It results in increased competition both in the domestic and global fronts. the domestic entrepreneurs try to be more efficient and this in turn ensures efficient utilization of available resources. it is important to consider that international trade alone cannot bring about economic growth and prosperity in any country. the other group of economists. As an aftermath of liberalization. come with a brighter view of the international trade and its impact on economic growth of the developing nations. which speaks in favor of globalization and international trade. China and India are regarded as the trend-setters in this case.