international tradingUnsurprisingly, the U.S. leads as the world’s largest trading nation. In 2011, the export of goods and services out of the country amounted to over $2.1 trillion. However, a quick look into the market reveals that the rest of the world is catching up at a steadily increasing pace and contributing to the cargo shipping industry, which is responsible for most of the products the average person is likely to encounter in a day.

In particular, developing countries, resource scarcity, the scars of colonialism, and the fresh wounds of neo-colonialism all play a greater role in the international trading game. In 2008, developing countries accounted for the largest share of sea-borne trade, responsible for 60% of the goods loaded and 56% of goods unloaded in the world. International freight shipping supported an estimated 9.7 million jobs in the U.S. in 2011, and the increase of involvement in international trading could similarly generate jobs and healthy economies in countries devastated by war and lack of commerce.

In fact, the correlation between growing global trade and reduced poverty is a proven fact — since trade drives growth, and there has been a vast increase in world trade in the last several decades, it follows that in the last 15 years, as a direct result of economic growth, 500 million people world wide were lifted above the poverty line.

Take Asia for example. About 40 years ago, it was the poorest continent in the world and was twice as poor as Africa is today. Now, it boasts the world’s fastest growing economy. This can be largely attributed to increased participation in international trade — almost half of Asia- based companies plan to export 60% of their output in the next five years.

Not only are jobs created by international shipping companies, but by the resulting manufacturing, production, and business opportunities. The more countries that participate in global trade and shipping, the higher the competition which is actually good news for input costs and financing. A domino effect, jump-started by changes in laws around tariffs and the break down of trade barriers, can be integral to the benefit of developing countries, which are finally getting the chance to make their own choices about their financial future.

To find out more, consult a global trade directory for the companies that are making the world a smaller, better place.

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