Openness and trade liberalisation are now seen almost universally as key components of the national policy cocktail required for economic growth and aggregate economic well-being. They are believed to have been central to the remarkable growth of industrial countries since the mid-twentieth century and to the examples of successful economic development since around 1970. The continued existence of widespread and abject poverty, on the other hand, represents perhaps the greatest failure of the contemporary global economy and the greatest challenge it faces as we enter the twenty-first century. This chapter discusses whether the two phenomena are connected. Specifically, it asks whether the process of trade liberalisation or the maintenance of a liberal trade regime could have caused the poverty that so disfigures modern life, or whether, in fact, it has contributed to its alleviation.