Open Markets Matter

The Benefits of Trade and Investment Liberalisation

The benefits of open markets are tangible. In the last decade, countries that have been more open to trade and investment have achieved double the average annual growth of more closed economies. More individuals, firms and nations than ever before depend on the gains from trade and investment liberalisation. Yet anxiety about the effects of greater market integration remains.

It is essential for long-term world prosperity that countries' commitment to trade and investment liberalisation be sustained. To be credible, that commitment must be rooted in and enjoy broad public support and understanding. This makes it all the more important to communicate what trade and investment liberalisation can and cannot do and be held responsible for.

Trade and investment liberalisation is not painless. It should not be viewed as a cure-all nor presented as an end in itself. It is, however, an essential component of any coherent set of policies aimed at helping societies adjust to - and take advantage of - technology-driven transformations whose pace and depth are unprecedented.

The stakes are high. This book examines the various channels through which open markets deliver considerable benefits to societies and their citizens; recalls the real pocket-book costs of protectionism; and addresses the full range of concerns that feature prominently in ongoing discussions over the effects of market liberalisation on employment, income distribution, environmental protection and national sovereignty.

A central message of this book is that liberalisation forms part of the solution to the concerns of citizens, rather than being their root cause. The book's comprehensive treatment of the ins and outs of trade and investment liberalisation should make an important contribution to the public debate. It is essential reading for public officials, business leaders and private citizens who wish to take an active part in it.

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