The definitive site for information about world trade is the World
Trade Organization's homepage http://www.wto.org.
They do, however, have a point of view, so you should not rely entirely
on their papers and presentation. Virtually every country in the
world has a government site associated with international trade.
When you want to know about a specific country's trade interests,
it is best to go to their site and look around. I did that for China,
India and Brazil. For example, I used the Ministry of Trade in India
I also needed information about foreign holdings of US bonds. Here
you need to look at the central bank of each country, and again
virtually all countries have a site for their central bank. They
will often list their chief foreign currency holdings (most hold
US dollars in large quantities) and their holdings of foreign bonds.
The place to find all of this information is the International Monetary
Fund (IMF). It is at http://www.imf.org/
and can provide you with both research and data on international
Any discussion about trade, free trade or globalization is rife
with politics. If you want a top economist's view of the topic,
you should take a look at In
Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati from the Oxford
University Press in 2004.
Both the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The
World Bank publish annual reports with many of the themes I've
discussed here. The United Nations annual report is called the Human
Development Report, and The World Bank annual report is called the
World Development Report. Both provide extensive analysis and data.
Since the focus of the reports varies from year to year, you'll
want to look at many of them to find topics of interest to you.
Near the end of this chapter I also introduced you to US economic
growth. A very good resource for information about the US economy
can be found in the annual Economic Report to the President. A long
term data series on the US business cycle can always be found there.
The report is generated by the Council of Economic Advisors, who
also do quite a bit more than US economic analysis.