Global flows: The ties that bind in an interconnected world

Economic and political turbulence have prompted speculation that the world is already deglobalizing. But the evidence suggests that global integration is here to stay, albeit with nuance.

Yuval Noah Harari

Trade may seem a very pragmatic activity, one that needs no fictive basis. Yet the fact is that no animal other than Sapiens engages in trade, and all the Sapiens trade networks about which we have detailed evidence were based on fictions. Trade cannot exist without trust, and it is very difficult to trust strangers. The global trade network of today is based on our … [ Read more ]

Ryan Avent

[Adam] Smith saw things differently. Trade is not zero-sum, he wrote. Rather, trade increases the size of the market, which allows for greater labour specialization. Specialized labour is more productive than non-specialized labour, so that a world of trade and specialization, in which many people focus on one task and exchange their produce with others in mutually beneficial trades, is one in which everyone is … [ Read more ]

A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World

Adam Smith wrote that man has an intrinsic “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.” But how did trade evolve to the point where we don’t think twice about biting into an apple from the other side of the world?

In A Splendid Exchange, William J. Bernstein tells the extraordinary story of global commerce from its prehistoric origins to the myriad controversies surrounding … [ Read more ]

Don’t blame trade for US job losses

A new look at US trade and employment data shows why it’s wrong to believe that foreign competition accounts for weak job growth since 2000.

Editor’s Note: a topical article, but the economic analysis provided is interesting and of value for other countries and times…

Industry, Trade and the Economy: Data and Analysis

OTEA conducts a comprehensive program of data development, dissemination, and research and analysis on international and domestic trade and investment issues to support trade promotion and trade policy responsibilities of Trade Development, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce and U.S. Government organizations and officials. This site makes the results of that work available to the public.

The Inevitability of Managed Trade

Pose the question to any audience, “How many here favor free trade and how many support protectionism or managed trade?” Inevitably, an overwhelming majority of hands are raised for free trade.

In the leading academic centers and think tanks, as well as in most of the press and major business organizations, the need for freer trade is constantly enjoined. And yet….

Editor’s Note: this article was … [ Read more ]

International Trade Statistics 2003

In today’s global economy, companies are increasingly looking outside national borders for new markets. Answering such questions as “Which Asian country is the largest exporter of commercial services?” or “Is the market growing for agricultural products in Africa?” can be essential for companies thinking of expanding into other parts of the world.

International Trade Statistics 2003 by the World Trade Organization is an authoritative source for … [ Read more ]

Euro Clash

Removing tariffs is easy. Breaking down social barriers to trade is hard.

Trade Agreements Database and Archive

The complex and far-flung world of trade agreements has just been made much simpler, thanks to Dartmouth’s Tuck Center for International Business (CIB) Trade Agreements Database and Archive. This is an updated collection of bilateral and regional free trade agreements and customs union agreements, most of which have been notified to the World Trade Organization. The archive section contains full texts of 164 agreements, that … [ Read more ]

What Price Economic Growth?

To judge by the example of Canada, which began an experiment in free trade with the United States in 1989, the proposed U.S. free-trade agreement with Mexico is a threat to the social comity on which prosperity depends.

Editor’s Note: this was written back in 1992 but the analysis it provides is really interesting and of long-lasting value when evaluating free trade concepts (thanks to … [ Read more ]

USITC Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb

The USITC Trade DataWeb is a menu-driven wizard for creating queries about current or historical U.S. trade by country and product. The wizard allows searching by HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule), SIC Code, SITC Code, or NAIC Code. (If you are unsure of where to start, the USITC site has an end use description lookup page.)

Once you choose a product list, you can drill down to … [ Read more ]

Finding Tariff and Tax Information

Follow the four step guide at this site to determine tariffs and taxes levied on U.S. products and services exported to other countries.

Semiconductors: a Case for Strategic Trade

When the Semiconductor Trade Agreement was set to expire in 1996, some US industry leaders called for renewal, while their Japanese counterparts argued against it. In this case study, Professor Daniel Traca and Robert Crawford challenge you to examine the issues surrounding US-Japanese semiconductor trade and the possibility of an STA III.

“ is the world’s largest marketplace for global trade and is the leading provider of online marketing services for importers and exporters. is the number one destination for buyers and sellers to find trade opportunities and promote their businesses online.

Alibaba’s websites allow users to browse company information and trade leads by 27 industry categories and 700 product sub-categories, ranging from agriculture to software.

Alibaba’s web … [ Read more ]

Two Funerals and a Wedding? The Family Life of Trading Blocs in East Asia and Asia Pacific

The financial crisis of 1997-98 hit the East Asia and Asia Pacific area hard, especially the primary regional organisations ASEAN and APEC. Perhaps down, but not quite out, a new regional group called ASEAN Plus Three (APT) emerged. Will it succeed where the others have failed? Professor Douglas Webber examines the strengths and weaknesses of these organisations. He also shows how several of the factors … [ Read more ]

UN/CEFACT – United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business

UN/CEFACT is the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. Its mission is to improve the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations, from developed, developing and transitional economies, to exchange products and relevant services effectively – and so contribute to the growth of global commerce. Its goals include:
– Expanding global commerce
– Reducing bureaucracy and increasing transparency … [ Read more ]

Trademark rights in gray markets

The legality of trademark protection in gray markets is determined by the principles of: universality, exhaustion and territoriality. Recent cases involving the Tariff, Lanham, and Copyright Acts have restricted the level of legal recourse where parallel imports jeopardize the trademark holder’s investment and/or create confusion amongst the consumers. The landmark 1998 L’Anza Supreme Court decision clearly sends a message to trademark owners that legislative protection … [ Read more ]