It’s easy to take for granted our accessibility to products native to or manufactured in countries on the other side of the world. International trade makes it possible to enjoy a dinner of Kobe beef from Japan, tropical fruits from India and a bottle of wine from France, without having to wait days (or weeks) for all the ingredients to arrive. From the days of the Silk Road between Europe and Asia in the 1200s, international trade has facilitated the exchange of goods and services between nations. As transportation evolved to make doing business internationally more practical, the result has been a global economy where events in one county can impact product supplies, demand and prices in countries thousand of miles away. For consumers, global trade means more business competition, which (despite tariffs and other additional costs that do not apply to domestic trade) typically results in lower prices for the products they want to purchase. It also opens up more markets where countries can sell the goods that are more abundant within their borders. The Cycle of Global Trade Relationships International trade can, over time, change the nature of relationships between two countries. One familiar example is when a poorer nation provides labor and facilities to more developed trading partners, acquiring wealth that can then be channeled into greater domestic productivity. When that happens, it could eventually result in a reversal of roles, where the product importer becomes an exporter. One sees elements of this in the trade relationship between the U.S. and China.
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