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Definition: Trade

Trade, also known as commerce, is defined as the ownership transfer of goods and services from one entity or person to another. The buyer has to give money or money’s worth to the seller in exchange of the goods or services. The place where open trade occurs is called as market.


The concept of trade started because of the taking up of specialized fields and division of labor by mankind as we moved towards civilization. A single person could not produce/manufacture everything required by him hence people started exchanging things, a system known as barter. Now such trades occur at scale as huge as in-between countries. World Trade Organization had organized Doha rounds so as to lower the trade barriers between different countries.


Broad classification of trade:

  • Home / internal trade – within a country
    • Wholesale trade – bulk trade between manufacturer and wholesaler
    • Retail trade – low quantity trade between  wholesaler and consumers
  • Foreign / external trade – between countries
    • Import trade – buying products made in foreign coutry
    • Export trade – selling home manufactured products to foreign country
    • Extrepot trade -  selling products obtained through imports to some other foreign country after some processing


There are trade barriers by the countries to keep the economy and exchange rates in check. Trade sanctions are imposed against a country to penalize it.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Trade along with its overview.

Browse the definition and meaning of more terms similar to Trade. The Management Dictionary covers over 7000 business concepts from 6 categories. This definition and concept has been researched & authored by our Business Concepts Team members.

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