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If the Nations of the World Were to Suddenly Cut Off Trade

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Globalization and International Trade
“Globalization” refers to the growing interdependence of countries resulting from the increasing integration of trade, finance, people, and ideas in one global marketplace. International trade and cross-border investment flows are the main elements of this integration.
Globalization started after World War II but has accelerated considerably since the mid-1980s, driven by two main factors. One involves technological advances that have lowered the costs of transportation, communication, and computation to the extent that it is often economically feasible for a firm to locate different phases of production in different countries. The other factor has to do with the increasing liberalization of trade and capital markets: more and more governments are refusing to protect their economies from foreign competition or influence through import tariffs and nontariff barriers such as import quotas, export restraints, and legal prohibitions. A number of international institutions established in the wake of World War II—including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), succeeded in 1995 by the World Trade Organization (WTO)—have played an
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important role in promoting free trade in place of protectionism. Empirical evidence suggests that globalization has significantly boosted economic growth in East Asian economies such as Hong Kong (China), the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. But not all developing countries are equally engaged in globalization or in a position to benefit from it. In fact, except for most countries in East Asia and some in Latin America, developing countries have been rather slow to integrate with the world economy. The share of SubSaharan Africa in world trade has declined continuously since the late 1960s, and the share of major oil exporters fell...

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