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This paper summarizes recent advances in the empirical research on firms' learning from trade participation and the role of finance in both starting to trade, surviving in export markets as well as expanding along the intensive and extensive trade margins. It highlights the increased importance of imports, which impacts at firms' performance primarily through relaxed technological constraints by increasing firms' scope of inputs and by lowering their input price index. In addition, imports are shown to boost firms' innovation and introduction of new products, which facilitates firms' decisions to start exporting.
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