From bicycles to whisky, handbags to semiconductors. Made on Earth, a new BBC News series, explores eight everyday products, and the eight intricate global trading networks that bring them to market. Even as trade tensions mount, the world has never been more connected, and the volume of international trade continues to rise. Global trade used to be a slightly worthy topic, loved by economists and confined to the financial pages of newspapers. But high-profile trade rows have changed all that, underlining its value and importance to us all. Looking at the news headlines it is easy to think that trade flows are going in to reverse. The row between the US and China has seen Washington imposing tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods, while Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on more than $110 billion of US products. Elsewhere, Japan and South Korea′s trade dispute is threatening the production of smartphones, computers and other electronics, while the European Union and the UK face potential disruption from a disorderly Brexit. Yet step back from the headlines and take the longer view, and things look different. The world traded a total of more than $25 trillion in goods and services in 2018 - and that′s more than 50 times the value of the products directly affected by those US and Chinese tariffs. The growth in global trade may be subdued at 3.2 per cent this year - rising to 3.5 per cent in 2020 - according to International Monetary Fund forecasts, but the trend is still clearly upward. The more a country trades with its neighbours, the better the state of its economy, and nations whose domestic economies are growing significantly also tend to have higher rates of growth in trade as a share of their output, argue economists. "Liberal trade policies that allow the unrestricted flow of goods and services sharpen competition, motivate innovation and breed success," says the World Trade Organization.