The Benefits of Reducing Barriers to International Trade

Self-Check Question

If the removal of trade barriers is so beneficial to international economic growth, why would a nation continue to restrict trade on some imported or exported products?


A nation might restrict trade on imported products to protect an industry that is important for national security. For example, nation X and nation Y may be geopolitical rivals, each with ambitions of increased political and economic strength. Even if nation Y has comparative advantage in the production of missile defense systems, it is unlikely that nation Y would seek to export those goods to nation X. It is also the case that, for some nations, the production of a particular good is a key component of national identity. In Japan, the production of rice is culturally very important. It may be difficult for Japan to import rice from a nation like Vietnam, even if Vietnam has a comparative advantage in rice production.