Trade is a basic economic concept involving the buying and selling of goods and services, with compensation paid by a buyer to a seller, or the exchange of goods or services between parties. Trade can take place within an economy between producers and consumers. International trade allows countries to expand markets for both goods and services that otherwise may not have been available.
It is the reason why an American consumer can pick between a Japanese, German, or American car. As a result of international trade, the market contains greater competition and therefore, more competitive prices, which brings a cheaper product home to the consumer.
In financial markets, trading refers to the buying and selling of securities, such as the purchase of stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
- Trade broadly refers to the exchange of goods and services, most often in return for money.
- Trade may take place within a country, or between trading nations. For international trade, the theory of comparative advantage predicts that trade is beneficial to all parties, although critics argue that in reality, it leads to stratification among countries.
- Economists advocate for free trade between nations, but protectionism such as tariffs may present themselves due to political motives, for instance with “trade wars.”