Economic Development: Theory and Policy Applications

By Fidelis Ezeala-Harrison | Go to book overview

13
International Trade and Economic Development

This chapter deals with the influences and potentials of international trade in economic development: pertinent issues such as the effect of international trade on the structure and character of the development process in LDCs, how it may have affected and promoted international inequality, and what may be done to reshape international trade to enhance, or rather to not retard, the pace of economic development in today's LDCs.

Although the topic of international trade in economic development has not hitherto been formally taken up in this book, the role of international trade in the development process has featured repeatedly throughout the preceding chapters. International trade is one of the most central aspects of a country's development, and more so if that country is an underdeveloped one. In Chapter 1, the degree of foreign dependence-that is, the extent to which an economy depends on the foreign trade sector for not only markets for sale and purchases, but also as a source of resources for development in the form of aid, grants, loans, and the like-is explained as one of the major characteristics of underdevelopment. This places international trade within the centre stage of the development process for most LDCs.

In Chapter 6 in particular, the role of international trade is reviewed thoroughly under the structuralist line of thought. Trade is posited to be a most important, if not the most important, single factor that has shaped the development achievements and the underdevelopment situations of countries during the twentieth century. Over this period, primary exports have traditionally accounted for the bulk of the GDPs of almost all LDCs of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean. This trend has remained unchanged today. Many recent works, including Bliss ( 1989), Bruton ( 1989), and Lewis ( 1989), have focused on the important issues of trade and economic development.

International trade permeates every facet of a country's economic life in ways over and beyond ordinary imports and exports of goods and services. It involves international transactions as well as administrative rules of conduct in short- and long-term international payments, banking services, currency exchanges, capital

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