THE BRITONIAN LIBRARY
European Foreign Trade in the XIX Century: The Development of the Value and Volume of Exports (Preliminary Results)
[9-10] ..... four main periods can be distinguished in the rythm of the growth in value of European exports in the XIX century. The first which lasted till 1850 or, more precisely, until 1846-47, if yearly data are used as basis, was marked by a relatively moderate growth in exports, of about 3% per year. The second period, covering the years 1846-47 to 1865-68, showed a sharp acceleration of growth (the expansion rate exceeded 5%). The third period, lasting until the years 1896-97, is a phase of very slow growth, the annual rate being below 2%. The last period which ends with the begin of the war was marked by a very strong increase in the value of exports, of about 5%, the growth being particularly rapid from 1903 to 1907 and from 1909 to 1913. Although the data relating to the volume of trade are more improtant, we should note that the analysis of the development of value exports is of definite interest. In fact they were the only data available, especially during the XIX century, and the analysis of the development of foreign trade was almost exclusively based on these figures. In this context the acceleration of the trade after 1846, that is after the repeal of the Corn Laws in Great Britain, must be stressed. This rapid expansion in trade was certainly not unrelated the success of free-trade ideas on the Continent, just as the slackening in the expansion of the value of exports from 1865-68 was not unrelated to the protectionist reaction in Continental Europe.