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The political economy of development
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international trade
"R.R., P.Wo."

all economic transactions that are made between countries. Among the items commonly traded are consumer goods, such as television sets and clothing; capital goods, such as machinery; and raw materials and food. Other transactions involve services, such as travel services and payments for foreign patents. International trade transactions are facilitated by international financial payments, in which the private banking system and the central banks of the trading nations play important roles.

International trade and the accompanying financial transactions are conducted generally toward the purpose of providing a nation with commodities it lacks in exchange for those that it produces in abundance; such transactions, functioning with other economic policies, generally improve the standard of living of a nation. This article provides a historical and contemporary overview of the structure of international trade and of the classic controversy over free versus controlled trade.