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International commerce used to be dominated by flows of goods and services between the big Western economies and the developing world – with the “advanced nations” generally dictating the terms. Over recent decades, though, there’s been a surge in trade between the developing countries and emerging markets themselves, bypassing the “leading countries” altogether.

As the developing and emerging economies’ share of the global economy has surged from one-third to more than a half of global GDP over the last ten years, they’ve done increasing amounts of business with each other. Such “south-south” flows, just a few percentage points of world trade as recently as 1990, rose to a fifth by 2004 and now account for almost a third of all cross-border commerce.
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