Is Free Trade Realistic in the World of Today?

Introduction

Any meaningful analysis of competing perspectives on the relationship between trade and development in today’s world has as its starting point the trade liberalization process and, in this context, the simplest definition of free trade. According to the latter, free trade means “the absence of trade barriers, or restrictions on foreign trade” [glossary.econguru.com/economic-term/free+trade].                                

In attempting such an analysis, we shall first tackle the role played by trade in the process of economic growth. We shall then briefly review the main conflicting approaches with respect to the role of trade in the process of socio-economic development.