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Understanding the global trading system

At the OECD, our work on trade policies builds on almost 60 years of economic research, and offers analysis and advice to help improve the well-being of people around the world.

This section offers a broad overview of the global trading system, including how trade works today, why open markets matter, the current trade challenges and opportunities, and how we can make trade work for all today and in the future.

How trade works today

Where do your things come from? Better understand how global trade works today, and how it’s different from the past.

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Why open markets matter

Trade remains a driver of economic prosperity, and has lifted millions out of poverty over the years. Here’s how.

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Trade challenges and opportunities

Trade and market openness go hand-in-hand with better economic performance, but there are concerns the current trading system is not working as it should.

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Making trade work for all

Only a more modern, comprehensive and coherent package of trade, domestic and international policies can help trade contribute to better lives for more people.

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