International Trade

Find information and resources for the research and study of international trade. The exchange of goods and services between countries is crucial to the U.S. economy and most people, whether they know it or not, are affected by it in some way. International trade is why American consumers can snack on bananas grown in Costa Rica, text on a smartphone by the South Korean brand Samsung, or buy an Audi car assembled in Germany. Conversely, international trade is also the reason Mexican consumers can talk on an Apple iPhone built in California, and why Canadian travelers can drive a Ford vehicle assembled near Detroit.

International trade benefits society in many ways. Commerce between nations exposes consumers to a much wider variety of goods and services. Moreover, importing certain commodities allows a nation to concentrate on the products it makes best, which is called a “comparative advantage.” International trade leads to greater competition and the sharing of technology and it often leads to an increase in jobs for both the importing and exporting nation.

However, international trade can also have negative consequences. Many economists argue that international trade puts undue pressure on a country’s natural resources. They also say that commerce between nations can lead to inefficiencies that put the economy of some developing countries at risk. Finally, international trade is overdependent on world events: an increase in the cost of labor in China means U.S. consumers pay more for Chinese products.

Nations can adopt either a free trade or protectionism policy when they deal with international trade. Free trade is the theory that normal market forces will, by themselves, protect and promote trade and economic growth. Protectionism holds that regulation of international trade is crucial to ensure that markets function properly. For example, when domestic manufacturers in a particular industry are at a disadvantage, a government could impose a protective tariff which makes foreign products more expensive and acts as a safeguard to domestic companies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on cross-border trade, but the World Trade Organization asserts that world merchandise trade is expected to increase as the demand for products returns.

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International Trade Resources

Gale provides resources that support research with collections from databases, primary sources and eBooks.


Gale databases include collections of published materials from books, newspapers, journals, essays, and periodical articles as well as primary source documents and multimedia, such as images, audio, and videos, that support users interested in international trade studies.

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and collections that provide firsthand content, including historical documents, archives, journals and periodicals, news articles, and other publications, and ephemera that examine and analyze international trade studies.

Gale eBooks

Gale's eBook collection offers a variety of books online to support international trade research. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross-search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download content.

  • 21st-Century Economics: Understanding Globalization

    21st-Century Economics: Understanding Globalization

    Cavendish Square Publishing   |   2020  |   ISBN-13: 9781502645982

    This volume helps demonstrate the interconnectedness of international economies and cultures in the twenty-first century. Through discussions of economic, political, and cultural globalization, students will begin to understand the varied dimensions of global economies. This book presents twenty-first-century examples of globalization ranging from Apple's outsourced manufacturing to how countries that are a part of the United Nations work together to combat climate change. Students will also learn how, even though the term "globalization" is still relatively new, the concept itself dates all the way back to ancient trade routes.

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  • Business Reference Guide: The Effects of Globalization on International Trade

    Business Reference Guide: The Effects of Globalization on International Trade

    Salem Press   |   2014   |   ISBN-13: 9781429835732

    The Business Reference Guide series is designed to provide a solid foundation for the research of various business topics. This volume offers an expansive overview of globalization and its influence on international trade. The essays are broken up into several sections that overview the effects of globalization on national policies, explore the changes experienced by trade over the past century, and evaluate current multinational corporation methods.

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  • Mastering Import & Export Management

    Mastering Import & Export Management

    AMACOM   |   2014   |   ISBN-13: 9780814438213

    Filled with step-by-step instructions, cost-effective strategies, and ready-to-use forms, this third edition of Mastering Import & Export Management walks readers through every key area—from handling logistics to building a global team, to complying with post-9/11 security measures to clearly documenting shipments using Incoterms. Completely updated, the guide simplifies the latest regulations and gathers best practices in an evolving field, including:

    • Strategies for reducing risk and spend in global supply chains
    • New documentation, operations, and procedures
    • Trade compliance SOPs
    • Guidance on managing transportation service providers
    • E-commerce in international trade

    For managers and operating personnel with the knowledge and tools to overcome challenges, the world of exporting and importing offers lucrative new frontiers.

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