This statement uses the notion of absolute benefit to make an argument against commercialism, which at the time was the dominant view of trade, where a country should export more than import and therefore accumulate wealth.  Instead, smith said, countries could benefit from the fact that they exclusively manufacture the products for which they are best suited and that they act together as necessary for consumption purposes. In this context, it is not the value of exports relative to imports that matters, but the value of products produced by a nation. However, the concept of absolute benefit does not refer to a situation in which a country has no advantage in the manufacture of a particular product or type of goods.  Economic arguments against free trade criticize the assumptions or conclusions of economic theories. Social policy arguments against free trade point to social and political effects that do not cover economic arguments such as political stability, national security, human rights and environmental protection. [Citation required] Some products are important for national security and governments believe it is dangerous to allow domestic producers to produce them, especially when they may depend on producers operating in a country that could one day become an enemy. Countries that allow low wages have a competitive advantage in attracting industry, which can lead to a general decline in workers` wages in all countries. [Citation required] Some countries can facilitate the cheap production of goods in their countries by allowing pollution: their pricing ignores the total cost of the environment and hidden costs are paid by their local, national and international neighbours.
[Citation required] Further liberalization – both by developed and developing countries – will be needed to harness trade potential as an engine of economic growth and development. Industrialised countries and the wider international community will do more to remove trade barriers faced by developing countries, especially the poorest countries. Although the quotas under the so-called multi-fibre agreement are due to expire by 2005, it is particularly important to accelerate the liberalisation of the textile and clothing and agriculture industries. Similarly, the removal of tariff peaks and the escalation of agriculture and manufacturing must be continued. On the other hand, developing countries would strengthen their own economies (and trading partners) if they made sustained efforts to further reduce their own trade barriers. In Britain, free trade became a central principle practiced by the repeal of the maize laws in 1846. The League of The Anti-Corn Law was sponsored by the Anti-Corn League. Under the Nanjing Treaty, China opened five contract ports for world trade in 1843.
The first free trade agreement, the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty, was put into force in 1860 between Great Britain and France, resulting in successive agreements between other European countries.  Some opponents of free trade support free trade theory, but oppose free trade agreements as applied.