Trading up

Globalisation and Emerging Economies: Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa

© David Rooney

Did you know that the number of people living in high-growth economies or in countries with per capita incomes at OECD levels has increased fourfold over the last 30 years to 4 billion?

Globalisation and Emerging Economies, a new book from the OECD, examines one of the major reasons for this transformation: international trade. Global trade relative to world GDP grew from 39% in 1992 to 52% in 2005. At the same time, the OECD countries' share of world trade dropped from 73% to 64%. Today, some of the most important economies in the world are not members of the OECD. Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa, the so-called BRIICS, are driving this integration of the emerging economies into global trade networks and value chains.

The book provides detailed reviews of each of the BRIICS, though for many readers, the most interesting part may be the description of how the architecture of world trade patterns is changing. Over the last 25 years, only Singapore, Korea and China have joined the core of the world trade network, and only China has become an established member. However, India, and maybe Russia, could displace some of the less central countries such as Singapore, Korea or perhaps even Italy. Australia and Belgium could be replaced in the core group by emerging economies such as Malaysia.

As might be expected, China is doing well in terms of the sheer amount of trade it conducts. But one of the most surprising revelations of the report is that India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa actually do better than China relative to the size of their economies and those of their trading partners.

With the current crisis leading to new calls for protectionism, Globalisation and Emerging Economies is a timely reminder that it is at least partly thanks to trade in global markets that billions of people have managed to work their way out of poverty.

ISBN 978-92-64-04480-7-44

To order this book,

For more on OECD work on trade,

©OECD Observer No. 272, April 2009

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q4 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.2% Jan 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.5% Jan 2018
Last update: 12 Mar 2018


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018