While economist Adam Smith pioneered the concept of “absolute advantage” in 1776 and David Ricardo expanded the field of economics to include comparative advantage in 1817, international trade has influenced economic growth and reduced global poverty for centuries. Trade, which is the sum of imports and exports of goods and services, accounts for over half of global GDP, according to the World Bank and its impacts are measurably higher when taking into account wealth creation and poverty reduction.
There are also harder to measure effects such as social impact through improved international relations and cultural exchange, which can, in turn, contribute to world peace. However, without trade finance, there would be no trade activity, as evidenced by recent World Trade Organization statistics. In 2017, trade finance facilitated over 80% of world trade.