Historical and contemporary experiences show that international trade can play a critical role in accelerating economic and social development. The track record of East Asian economies, in particular, emphasises its key contribution to achieving high and sustained economic growth. Many of these countries went from being poor developing countries to high-income countries within a generation. The rapid trade-fuelled growth of emerging economies such as China, Brazil and India also lends support to the argument that trade can stimulate economic growth, generate productive employment, and reduce poverty levels. Even poorer developing countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana and Vietnam have recently benefited from stronger trade performance.