Trade is an issue of concern mostly for people invested in the present system of globalization, or opposed to it. Some felt that developing nations were taken advantage of by aliens that are rich and empowered with corporate plans to exploit the uniformed savages that are barefoot and without big screen TV’s In my opinion such concerns will continue because people haven’t very good ideas about what or how trade might be done differently or even how to transition an economy to an ecologically sustainable foundation.
I read a textbook on ecological economics once, and I seem to recall that it mentioned that global trade is inefficient in regard to the environment. Harm is done to the atmosphere form all of the global transportation of goods, and harm is done to the oceans and land as well. As global labor is exploited and wages kept down to minimum increases because production can relocate to where the lowest common wage denominator is, so can production and resources be most easily exploited globally as they are locally depleted by producers that relocate when they are gone, or transport more from abroad. A significant change would be to produce as many goods locally as possible and minimize foreign trade. Some day perhaps 3d printers can manufacture goods locally and plans and design program made globally; transferring information on the Internet isn’t too harmful to the environment, although it would be better if server farms were geothermally powered or some other renewable resource was used to power them.
The controversial or contentious item about trade from my point of view is why is it so encouraged to exist in a world that still uses Adam Smith’s 19th century paradigm for free trade given to relax royal restrictions on trade with Europe? In Adam Smith’s day the environment’s limits weren’t too much on the radar except for people like Thomas Robert Malthus, whose concerns about the limits to population growth never really became obsolete. Free enterprise within ecologically economic paradigmata for directed economic evolution can be applied to create a political economy to maximize human potential within rational and sustainable criteria in theory if not in political practice.