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International Trade Theories And Comparative Advantage Economics Essay

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International Trade is that the exchanging methodology of products and services across the international border. In 2010, the price of international tread achieved 19 trillion (US) dollars that’s regarding half-hour of the planet value. That’s virtually one third of production of products and services are changed internationally round the world. International trade theories are fully completely different sort of theories that provide rationalization on international trade New Charter University, (2012).

In 1600 and 1700 centuries, mercantilism involved that countries have to be compelled to at an equivalent time encourage exports and discourage imports. Though’ mercantilism is Associate in tending previous theory it echoes in trendy politics and trade policies of the various countries. The classical man of science Smith, world organization agency developed the thought of absolute advantage, was the first to elucidate why unrestricted trade is helpful to a country. Smith argues that the unseen offer of the market mechanism, rather than government policy, have to be compelled to make sure what a country imports and what it exports Bhagwati, J. (1958).

Heckscher-Ohlin theory is principally popular on theoretical grounds, but in real-world international trade pattern it clothed to not be merely transferred, discovered as a result of the Leontief contradiction in terms. Another theory trying to elucidate the dissatisfaction of the Hecksher-Ohlin theory of international trade was the merchandise life cycle theory developed by Raymond Vernon Abedini j. (n.d.).

International Trade theory

(A) Mercantilism:

According to Wild, 2000, this International trade theory that state that nation need to accumulate cash wealth, usually at intervals the strategy of gold, by encourages exports and discourages imports is termed mercantilism. In line with this theory totally different measures of countries’ well being, like living standards or human development, square measure tangential in the main great United Kingdom, France, Holland, European nation and European country used mercantilism throughout the 1500 to the late 1700 Deraniyagala, S., & B. Fine. (2003).

Mercantilist country practiced the alleged game, that meant that world wealth was restricted that country entirely could raise their share at value of their neighbors. The economic process was prohibited once the mercantilist countries paid the colonies little for export and charged them high price for import. The foremost draw back with mercantilism is that each one country engaged in export but was restricted from import, another hindrance from growth of international trade Abedini j. (n.d.).

(B) Absolute Advantage

The Scottish social scientist Smith developed the International trade theory of absolute advantage in 1776. A rustic that has associate absolute advantage produces larger output of a decent or service than different countries mistreatment an equivalent quantity of resources. Smith declared that tariffs and quotas mustn’t limit international trade it ought to be allowed to flow in step with economic process. Contrary to mercantilism Smith argued that a rustic ought to focus on production of products within which it holds associate absolute advantage. No country then ought to turn out all the products it consumed. The speculation of absolute advantage destroys the mercantilist concept that international trade could be a game. In step with absolutely the advantage theory, international trade could be a positive-sum game, as a result of there are gains for each countries to associate exchange. In contrast to mercantilism this theory procedures the nation’s possessions by the existing standards of its folks and not by gold and silver Corden, W.M. (1966).

There’s a possible drawback with absolute advantage. If there’s one country that doesn’t have associate absolute advantage within the production of any product, can there still be profit to trade, and can trade even occur. The solution is also found within the extension of absolute advantage, the speculation of comparative advantage I. Wallerstein. (1981).

(C) Comparative Advantage

The most basic idea within the whole of international trade theory is that the assumption of comparative advantage, foremost introduced by economist David Ricardo in 1817. It remains a serious influence on a lot of international foreign policy and is thus necessary in understanding the fashionable international wealth. The opinion of comparative advantage states that a rustic ought to specialize in manufacturing and exportation those merchandise during which is includes a comparative, or relative price, advantage compared with different countries and will import those merchandise during which it’s a comparative disadvantage. Out of such specialization, it’s argued, can accrue larger profit for all. Corden, W.M. (1966)

During this theory there square measure many assumption that bound the real-world appliance. The idea that countries square measure driven solely by the maximization of production and consumption and not by problems out of concern for employees or customers may be a fault.

(D) Heckscher-Ohlin theory:

In early decade a world trade theory mentioned as issue extent theory emerge by 2 Swedish economists, Eli Heckscher and Bertil Ohlin. This theory is in addition mentioned because the Heckscher-Ohlin theory. The Heckscher-Ohlin theory strain that countries got to prove and export merchandise that require resources that area unit well endowed and import merchandise that require resources in short offer. This assumption differs from the theories of comparative advantage and absolute advantage whiles this theory concentrate on the assembly of the assembly technique for a particular good. On the opposing, the Heckscher-Ohlin theory state that a rustic got to specialize production and export victimization the factors that unit of measurement most well endowed, and then the foremost value effective. Not prove, as earlier theories declared, the merchandise it produces most with efficiency Deraniyagala, S., & B. Fine. (2003).

The Heckscher-Ohlin theory is most popular to the Ricardo theory by many economists, as a result of it makes fewer simplifying assumptions. In 1953, economist discovered a study, where he told the strength of the Heckscher-Ohlin theory. The training show that the U.S was better endowed in capital compared to different countries, thus the U.S would export capital- intensive merchandise and import effortful merchandise. Economist determined that the U.S export wasn’t the maximum amount of capital severe as import Abedini j. (n.d.).

(E) Product life cycle theory

This theory developed by Raymond Vernon in 1960. The international product life cycle theory stress to facilitate an organization will begin to export its product and later battle foreign direct investment as a result of the merchandise moves throughout its life cycle. Finally a country’s export becomes its import. Though the model is developed around the U.S it’s generalized and applied to any of the developed and creative markets of the world. Deraniyagala, S., & B. Fine. (2003)

The product life cycle theory was developed throughout the 1960 and targeted on the U.S from the time once most innovation came from that market. This was associate applicable theory at that time since the U.S dominated the world trade. Today, the U.S is no longer the only real creator of product among the planet. These days’ corporations vogue new product and modify them rich quicker than before. Firm’s square measure forced to introduce the merchandise in many various markets at an analogous time to realize price edges before its sales declines. the thought does not build a case for trade patterns of those days. Abedini j. (n.d.)

Assumptions of comparative advantage:

Comparative advantage theory is useful to form variety of assumptions.

Mostly all prices are invariant and there are not any economies of scale.

There are solely two economies making two merchandise.

This theory assumes that each one listed merchandise is uniform.

This theory assumes that factors of production are assumed to be utterly mobile.

This theory assumes that no tariffs or different trade barriers.

This theory provides good information, in order that each consumers and sellers apprehend wherever they’ll get most cost-effective merchandise internationally.

This theory assumes labor is utterly mobile among the country however utterly immobile between countries.

Doubling the inputs in every country results in a doubling of total output of company. Smit A.J. (2010)


Tracing back the evolution of what recently is recognized as a result of the customary theory of international trade, one goes back to the years between 1776 and 1826, that severally mark the publications of Adam Smith’s (1986,1776) Wealth of states and David Ricardo’s Principles of economics (1951). The 2 volumes herald the formulation of a theory of trade, supported the unprecedented success of England inside the many fields of trade and trade. For Smith, the division of labor, inside the emerging large-scale industries of his country England, provided very cheap for lowering labor costs that ensured effective competition across countries. potential dilemmas in terms of the necessity for monetary changes for countries having endless trade surplus (with absolute advantage altogether listed goods) could also be shelved aside by looking forward to the machine-driven adjustment, in terms of the worth flow mechanism, the idea offered by Smith’s fashionable, Henry Martyn david hume philosopher (1971,1776), around the same time Sunanda sen. (2010)

It was left to economic expert to set up out the essential premises of a theory of trade that Smith had initiated. Industrial economic system in Ricardo’s England was at a relatively advanced stage as compared to what it completely was in Smith’s time, every with rise of large-scale industries and captive markets in overseas colonies. Imports of wage merchandise had a special role by cheapening wage merchandise and therefore labor value for interchange Ricardo’s England. Free trade, as against the Mercantilist policies of protection, was championed by every Smith and economic expert as a route to understand production efficiency at a world level. Ricardo’s value calculations, despite his problems for the introduction of machinery on associate degree outsized scale, were supported labor hours, that were treated joined consistent input with production subject to constant costs. It completely was comparative and not absolute advantage, that was thought-about each necessary, equally as adequate, to verify reciprocally profitable trade across nations, warranting complete specialization inside the particular commodity with a comparative advantage in terms of labor hours used per unit of output. Sunanda sen. (2010)

Analysis of export & import of England:

According to the most recent data from October 2011, the UK’s biggest export inside the year to this point was nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances. Mineral fuels, mineral oils and merchandise of their distillation, hydrocarbon substances and mineral waxes followed in second place, though’ incidentally it completely was jointly the foremost very foreign product in 2011 rising by 46 persisted the year.

Vehicles apart from railway or tramway rolling-stock, and parts and accessories thence stratified as every third highest import and export. Inside the year to this point (October 2011) the uk exported £23bn value and spent £32bn on commerce these things.

The U.S. received the foremost British export product last year, followed by land and France. The best trade partner for imports was land, followed by the U.S. and China. The uk exported £31.7bn value of merchandise to the North American country. Ami sedghi. (n.d.)


Mercantilism projected that a country got to try to export over it imports, thus on receive gold. The foremost criticism of mercantilism is that countries unit restricted from import, a hindrance of international trade. Social scientist developed the concept of absolute advantage that stressed that a country got to prove merchandise or services if it uses a lesser amount of resources than completely different countries. Economic expert specific in his theory of comparative advantage that a country got to consider producing and dealing product inside that it is the comparative advantage and it got to import merchandise inside that it is a comparative disadvantage. Hecksher-Ohlin’s theory of matter endowment anxious that a country got to prove and export merchandise that require resources that area unit plethoric inside the house country. Social scientist tested the Hecksher-Ohlin theory inside the U.S. and settled that it fully wasn’t applicable inside the U.S. Raymond Vernon’s product life cycle theory stress that a company will begin to export its product and later war foreign direct investment as a result of the factory-made product moves through its life cycle. Within the finish a country’s export becomes its import.


Bhagwati, J. 1958. “Immiserizing Growth: A Geometrical Note.” Review of Economic Studies 58: 201-05.

Deraniyagala, S., and B. Fine. 2003. “New Trade Theory versus Old Trade Policy: A

Continuing Enigma.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 25(6): 809-25.

Corden, W.M. 1966. “The Structure of a Tariff System and the Effective Protection Rates.” Journal of Political Economy 74(3): 221-37.

Amin, S., G. Arrighi, A.G. Frank, and I. Wallerstein. 1981. Dynamics of Global Crisis. NewYork: Monthly Review Press.

New Charter University (2012) ‘International Business’ [online]

Available on: https://new.edu/resources/what-is-international-trade-theory [Accessed on: 30 Oct, 2012]

Abedini j. (n.d.) ‘International Trade’ [online]

Available on: http://gsme.sharif.edu/~trade/ [Accessed on: 29 Oct, 2012]

Smit A.J. (2010) ‘The competitive advantage of nations’ [online]

Available on: http://www.ajol.info/index.php/sabr/article/viewfile/76358/66817 [Accessed on: 30 Oct, 2012]

Theories of international trade, n.d [online]

Available on: http://www.rulemic.com/umm.html [Accessed on: 7 Nov, 2012]

Ami Sedghi, Jan10, 2012, n.d [online]

Available on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/feb/24/uk-trade-exports-imports [Accessed on: 7 Nov, 2012]

Sunanda sen, Nov23, 2010, International trade theory and policy [online]

Available on: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_635.pdf [Accessed on: 8 Nov, 2012]

International trade: some basic theory and concept, n.d [online]

Available on: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/X7352E/X7352E02.htm [Accessed on: 8 Nov, 2012]

Modern theories of International trade, n.d [online]

Available on: http://cis01.central.ucv.ro/iba/files/int_ec3.pdf [Accessed on: 9 Nov, 2012]

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