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Geographies of Interconnection: Global Trade

aerial photo of pile of enclose trailer

Source: CHUTTERSNAP (2017)

Trade has always been one of the main ways human beings have connected across cultures. From Ancient Greece to the Silk Road to Etsy, trade has played a crucial role in establishing interconnections between communities. Read through the resources below to learn more about global trade, how it connects us, and how it impacts society and the environment.

Trade (The World Bank, 2021, October 6)

Trade is an engine of growth that creates jobs, reduces poverty and increases economic opportunity. Read through this article from the World Bank to read about some of the benefits of trade.

Trade Map

Trade Map is free to use and provides trade statistics and market access information for export development. By transforming the large volume of primary trade data into an accessible, user-friendly, web-based format, Trade Map provides indicators on export performance, international demand, alternative markets and the role of competitors.

Plane finder

This map shows the positions of planes all over the world and gives you an idea of just how much stuff is being sent back and forward across the world.

Trading up: globalisation and developing countries (Vox Dex, 2017, June 21)

Trade leads to improved industry performance and innovation, and a reduction in inefficiencies in developing countries. Read through this article to learn more.

Globalisation (BBC, n.d.)

Globalisation means that the world is becoming interconnected by trade and culture exchange. This study guide looks at the reasons for globalisation and its positive and negative influences.

Effects of economic globalisation (National Geographic, n.d.)

Globalisation has led to increases in standards of living around the world, but not all of its effects are positive for everyone. Read through this article to learn more.

Multinational corporations (Investopedia, 2022, January 1)

A multinational corporation (MNC) has facilities and other assets in at least one country other than its home country. A multinational company generally has offices and/or factories in different countries and a centralized head office where they coordinate global management. Some of these companies, also known as international, stateless, or transnational corporate organizations, may have budgets that exceed those of some small countries.  Read through this article to learn more.

Multinational corporations: good or bad? (Economics Help, 2019, May 30)

Read through this article to look at the pros and cons of multinational corporations.

Do multinational corporations exploit foreign workers? Q&A with David Levine (Berkeley Haas, 2020, March 11)

In trade debates, multinational corporations are often cast as villains exploiting low-wage workers in countries with weaker labor laws at the expense of Americans. But do multinationals actually exploit foreign workers? Read through this interview to see one perspective.

What is Fair Trade? (Fair Trade Australia and New Zealand, n.d.)

This website looks at Fair Trade and how it helps developing countries in global trade.

International trade: pros, cons, and effect on the economy (The Balance, 2021, May 18)

Exports create jobs and boost economic growth, as well as give domestic companies more experience in producing for foreign markets. Over time, companies gain a competitive advantage in global trade. Research shows that exporters are more productive than companies that focus on domestic trade. Read through this article to learn more.

The benefits of international trade (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2021, January 15)

This article looks at some of the benefits of international trade, specifically in the U.S. context.

Ethical clothing (Choice, 2014, July 28)

Sweatshops aren't exclusive to low-wage countries. In fact, it's likely any clothes you wear with a label saying "Made in Australia" were made by an outworker in a backyard sweatshop, perhaps not far from where you live or work. Read through this article to learn more.

The 2017 ethical fashion report: the truth behind the barcode (Baptist World Aid, 2017)

This is the fourth report produced by Baptist World Aid Australia examining labour rights management systems in the fashion industry. It grades 106 companies, from A to F, on the strength of their systems to mitigate against the risks of forced labour, child labour, and exploitation in their supply chains.

The shirt on your back (The Guardian, 2014, April 16)

How did the clothes you're wearing get to you? This website traces the human cost of the Bangladeshi garment industry in video, words and pictures.

Conflict materials (Ethical Trade, n.d.)

Conflict minerals refer to natural resources that are illegally mined and exported from conflict zones. Tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (collectively known as 3TG) are used in the production of electronic goods such as smartphones, laptops and gaming devices. Read through this article to learn more.

Invasive species (One Ocean, n.d.)

Nearly one fifth of the Earth’s surface is at risk of plant and animal invasions − including many biodiversity hotspots. The 2019 UN IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) Assessment highlights the threat posed by invasive and alien species as one of five principal drivers impacting global biodiversity. It warns that cumulative records of alien species have increased by 40% since 1980, due to increased transport of goods and people and human population dynamics and trends. Read through this website to learn more.

Species encroaching on alien territories (World Ocean Review, n.d.)

This website looks at how global trade, and particularly the opening up of canals like the Suez Canal, have allowed marine invasive species to spread.

Australia's top 10 imports and exports (Ice International Cargo, 2020, January 13)

International trade is integral to Australia’s economy and especially to the shipping and logistics industry.  Australia enjoys the benefits of numerous free trade agreements with other countries whilst importing and exporting several goods ranging from machinery and minerals to meat and aluminium. In this article explore Australia’s top imports and exports, especially looking at some of the industries that make up Australia’s international trade as well as who are the most important partners and players.

Trade and investment (Department of Foreign Affairs and trade, n.d.)

International trade and investment is critical to the Australian economy, providing jobs and prosperity. International trade and investment opens up opportunities for Australians to expand their businesses. Trade agreements can improve market access across all areas of trade – goods, services and investment – and help to maintain and stimulate the competitiveness of Australian firms. This benefits Australian consumers through access to an increased range of better-value goods and services. Read through this website to find links about global trade in an Australian context.

Global ties (Austrade, n.d.)

Australia is an open economy that is deeply integrated in global trade. A network of 15 free trade agreements grants Australian exporters preferential access to markets across Asia, and in North and South America. Read through this website to learn more.

Australia's trade statistics at a glance (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, n.d.)

Use the map and the economy sidebar on the left of this website to explore Australia's trading relationship with the world. 

Australia and the global economy - the terms of trade boom (Reserve Bank of Australia, n.d.)

Australia is a relatively open, trade-exposed economy. This means that changes in other countries’ demand for our goods and services can have significant implications for our economy. Read through this website to learn more.

International trade (Australian Bureau of Statistics, n.d.)

This website contains all the articles about international trade and Australia produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

How trade benefits Australia (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2018, September)

This fact sheet looks at how trade benefits Australia.