This notion belongs to the category: Useful notions (not included in the official program)
All goods flows (goods only) between national economic areas. In the broad sense, it also includes service flows.
In the strict sense, the international trading corresponds to the total flow of goods (goods) between national economic spaces. In the broad sense, international trade corresponds to the total flow of goods (goods) and services between national economic spaces. Service flows are taken into account to the extent that their share is rapidly increasing in international trade (especially transport, tourism and business services).
The international trade is measured by the flows (exports and imports) of goods and services. These flows can be understood at different levels: between a country and the rest of the world, between zones, within the same zone.
- The trade balance is a statistical account that records exports and imports of goods (goods) between a given country and the rest of the world. The trade balance is the difference between exports and imports; this balance sheds light on the country’s commercial performance. Please note that these are merchandise exports / imports only and do not take into account service flows. To find out the total flows of goods and services between a given country and the rest of the world, refer to the current account;
- The degree of openness is an indicator of the extent to which the country is open to the outside: = [(X + M / 2) /GDP] X 100.
The international trade is not a recent phenomenon. Indeed, already in the 19th century, international trade progressed at a rate superior to that of world production. This tendency is confirmed and even accentuated after 1945, so that between 1980 and 2000 world trade in value is multiplied by 3.3, while world production is 1.6 . In this perspective, international trade is perceived as an engine of growth.
This rapid increase in international trade was accompanied by changes in the structure of the latter, both in terms of the nature of the products traded and in the geographical distribution of these exchanges. Thus, over the last two centuries, the share of manufactured goods in trade has increased steadily, becoming preponderant, to the detriment of agricultural products. On the other hand, over the past two decades, the share of services in international trade has grown considerably and is now central to trade. Correspondingly, international trade has been led to concentrate geographically around three zones constituting what the ” The Triad (North America, EU, Asia); Or even within each of these zones (intra-zone trade). This dynamic has marginalized some parts of the world (examples: Africa, Central-Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America).
The development of international trading has resulted in an increasing openness and interdependence of economies.
Nowadays it has become a central variable in the world economy, but it is still subject, as in the past, to many questions. Why do nations exchange among themselves? Is international trade an engine or a brake on growth? Does it not contribute to the loss of autonomy of States? A theoretical debate exists in the background: some see international trade as the engine of growth that allows any country to develop (such as Asian NIEs). On the other hand, others point the finger at its misdeeds on certain countries (marginalization of the developing countries), certain sectors (disappearance of traditional sectors such as the textile in France) employment (Increase of unemployment) … advocating the use of protectionist measures. The dynamics of international trade can also be understood through its actors. The State is a central actor insofar as its actions, with very varied forms, are led to stimulate (lower tariffs, for example) or on the contrary to restrict (non-tariff protection, for example) trade with other nations. But it is not only states that are involved in the dynamics of international trade, but also with firms, particularly transnational firms (FTN). TNCs are increasingly influencing trade, particularly through the international division of the productive process (DIPP) and intra-firm trade. Moreover, their weight becomes such that the states, seeing their autonomy crumble, feel more and more powerless in front of them.
- It should not be confused international trade and globalization. Globalization refers to the free movement of goods and services, capital as well as to men, while international trade concerns only flows of goods and, through enlargement, services.
- We must not believe that it is the states that control international trade. If a country has a trade deficit, it is not the state that will pay the deficit but the country, the nation that will have to find a solution, for example, indebtedness. This debt is not public, a priori.