Introduction and Overview
Businesses have engaged in international trade for thousands of years. In fact, international business has played a major role in shaping world history, from nations’ attempts to control trading routes to their colonization of countries. International trade (exports and imports) has grown from US$50 billion just 50 years ago to US$12 trillion in 2006.1 Between 2000 and 2006, international trade grew at an annual rate of 13 percent for a total growth rate of 87 percent over the course of just six years. The following sections discuss some of the critical activities involved in international companies’ business operations, including (1) the reasons for pursuing overseas markets, (2) the various forms of entry into foreign markets, (3) the types of organizations that are involved in international operations, (4) the need for information and functional strategies among international companies, and (5) the ethical and corporate social responsibility considerations in international operations.