Free trade is an economic policy that allows countries to import and export goods and services without any restrictions or tariffs. This type of open market system encourages competition, which in turn leads to greater economic efficiency and improved access to resources. In contrast, protectionism is an economic policy that seeks to protect domestic industries by imposing tariffs and other restrictions on imported goods and services. While protectionism may seem like a good idea in theory, it can often have negative effects on the economy as a whole.

Increased Competition Leads to Better Quality Goods and Services

One of the main benefits of free trade is that it increases competition between companies. With more companies competing in the same market, each one must strive to provide better quality products and services in order to stay competitive. This leads to increased innovation and higher quality goods and services for consumers. A 2018 study by the World Bank found that “in a world where markets are open and competition is allowed to flourish, businesses are incentivized to innovate and consumers benefit from higher quality and a wider variety of goods and services.”

Increased Economic Efficiency

Another benefit of free trade is increased economic efficiency. By reducing tariffs and other restrictions on international trade, countries can increase their economic growth. This leads to easier access to international markets, allowing countries to specialize in certain industries and take advantage of economies of scale. The result is increased production and lower prices for consumers. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “countries that embrace free trade tend to experience faster economic growth than those that rely on protectionist measures.”

Improved Access to Resources

Free trade also improves access to resources from around the world. This allows countries to take advantage of cheaper materials and resources, leading to more efficient use of resources and lower production costs. In addition, it gives countries access to new technologies, helping them to stay competitive in the global marketplace. As noted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD): “Free trade allows countries to access the raw materials, technology and capital needed for development.”

Lower Prices for Consumers

The increased competition brought about by free trade leads to lower prices for consumers. Companies must compete with each other to offer the lowest prices, so they cannot charge excessive prices as they can in a protectionist environment. This leads to lower prices and more purchasing power for consumers. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “the elimination of tariffs and other barriers to trade can reduce prices for consumers and increase choice.”

More Jobs

Free trade also leads to more jobs. Increased demand for labor in new industries and easier access to international markets means more job opportunities available through international trade. This can help countries to reduce unemployment and improve their economic situation. A 2017 study by the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that “international trade can create new jobs, particularly in export-oriented sectors, and can lead to higher wages for workers.”

Greater International Cooperation

Finally, free trade encourages greater international cooperation. Nations can cooperate to create mutually beneficial trade agreements that benefit all parties involved. This helps to improve relations between countries and leads to greater understanding and peace. According to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): “Free trade fosters cooperation and collaboration between nations, leading to increased stability and prosperity for all.”

Reduced Risk of Trade Wars
Reduced Risk of Trade Wars

Reduced Risk of Trade Wars

Protectionist policies such as tariffs and other restrictions on imports can lead to retaliatory actions by other countries, resulting in a “trade war”. Free trade reduces the risk of trade wars by encouraging cooperative agreements and reducing the likelihood of countries engaging in retaliatory measures. As noted by the United States Trade Representative (USTR): “Free trade agreements promote a rules-based trading system, which helps to avoid disputes and reduces the risk of trade wars.”


In conclusion, free trade offers many benefits that protectionism does not. It increases competition, leading to better quality goods and services for consumers. It increases economic efficiency and improves access to resources from around the world. It also leads to lower prices for consumers, more jobs, and greater international cooperation. Therefore, it is clear that free trade is the better option when compared to protectionism. If we want to ensure a strong and prosperous future, then it is important that we support free trade and oppose protectionist policies.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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