Free trade

Which breakfast would you choose?

Which breakfast would you choose? Without international trade, your weekend breakfast would be much less colourful.

Your morning coffee could come from Colombia or Vietnam, your orange juice from the United States or Brazil, and your grapes from Italy or South Africa. By importing goods from other countries, we help strengthen these countries and the people who produce what we eat and drink. And this is just one of many examples of the benefits of free trade.

We people need each other. Without trade between countries we would be poorer and more vulnerable, and we would lack the tools we need to tackle common challenges in areas such as climate change, poverty reduction, global health and sustainability.

International trade provides more people in the world with a job to go to, and it means more disposable income and greater prosperity. It can also do a great deal to promote gender equality, as access to markets and international trade can strengthen women’s economic empowerment.

Trade has many advantages, but it is also important that international trade goes hand in hand with social security and decent working conditions – and with corporate social responsibility, free from corruption. It is also important that globalisation occurs in a responsible manner, so that people’s lives improve even if global competition means that jobs change or disappear.

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Ann Linde: The significance of trade

Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde on the importance of free trade.

International trade can help us to eradicate extreme poverty. Around one billion people were lifted out of poverty between 1990 and 2015, largely thanks to international trade.

“For the extreme poor living on less than $1.25 a day, the central value of trade is its potential to help transform their lives and those of their families. In this way, there is no doubt that the integration of global markets through trade openness has made a critical contribution to poverty reduction.”

Read the report from the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization in full.