There are many factors that affect importing and exporting. Let us look at a few of the most important of these factors.
Trade barriers. The degree to which governments erect or remove trade barriers has a tremendous impact on importing and exporting. The decision of the United States to open its markets significantly after World War II, for example, helped to allow Japan to build its “economic miracle” on exports to the US.
Shipping costs. Importing and exporting typically involves the movement of large amounts of materials. The costs of this movement have a major impact on whether importing and exporting can be profitable. This is one reason that containerization made the post-war boom in trade possible.
Domestic costs and infrastructure availability. One reason that importing and exporting has risen is that it has become cheaper and more feasible to produce many things in poorer countries and ship them to richer ones. This is partly because of high costs in rich countries for things like labor. It is also partly because poorer countries have gained infrastructure that allows them to have productive factories that make things for export.
All of these factors and more affect importing and exporting.