Prompt: “Is free trade across a county border economically different from free trade across a national border?”
Technically no. Whether you’re trading with your physical neighbor or trading with someone on the other side of the globe the trade at its core is identical. Its humans producing, wanting to buy the produce, and trading something deemed as equal in value to acquire the produce. The difference comes from the concepts of nationality and cultural difference. People of every nation are raised with a sense of national pride. This pride also subconsciously separates us from people of other nations.
This is why trading across counties or states (but within the same nation) seems harmless and natural, while trading with someone across a national border seems like a bigger deal. If you’re trading across counties it still seems like you’re trading to benefit your home, your nation. The flow of money stays within your nation, and the thought that it will ultimately benefit you and your family stays constant. If you’re trading across national borders it seems less controllable, and you can’t be completely sure the flow of money will come back to benefit your nation.
The truth is both nations will benefit from international trade. The seller will become richer in money and the buyer richer in goods. But because of national borders we subconsciously look at the people of the nation we’re trading with as “other”, and have a harder time trading across national borders than we do across county borders. This (along with in country producers looking out for their own business) is another reason import quotas get created. Its seen as safer to keep the flow of money within our own nations economy instead of taking the risk of trading it out into another nations economy.