The past 25 years or so have seen various forms of debates around the costs and benefits of free trade. Free trade is a component of a broader economic model known in the mainstream as neo-liberalism. These debates have been made more intense as proponents and critics of free trade struggle to make their point in the context of the process of globalization.
The critics' arguments, for the most part, have remained constant. Free trade is used by rich countries to flood impoverished countries' markets with excess products. This, they rightly argue, destroys the affected sectors of the impoverished countries and makes those countries dependent on foreign assistance. In addition, since the level of development in impoverished countries is not at par with that of rich countries, the latter is at an advantage with respect to resources, including technology, to help them in producing and transporting their products to the international market.
Most important, rich countries never fully open their markets to the impoverish countries' products. Rich countries employ schemes such as quotas, subsidies, preferential treatment, and etc. to undermine 'free trade' in spirit and in practice. In most cases, impoverished countries are not allowed to use these schemes. They are often threatened with sanctions and other punitive measures by the rich countries, the World Trade Organization, and other international institutions. Continue at http://www.blackstate.com