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Export-Import Specialists


Exporting and importing is more than the flow of goods between different countries. Taken as a whole, what a country exports and imports largely determines its economic health. Trade relations have also been a major force in determining whether two nations are allies or enemies. During the expansion of the Roman Empire, for example, there was much trade between the Far East and Europe. In the 15th and 16th centuries, explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan undertook long voyages to open new trade routes. Importing foreign goods allowed the people of a country to enjoy products not available in their own country. The early North American colonists traded products or raw materials, such as tobacco and furs, for clothes and other manufactured goods from England.

The people who facilitate the actual trading of finished goods, raw materials, and services are a varied group. In colonial times, a trader was basically anyone with the means of transporting or receiving and distributing goods. Thus, the owner of a ship that made the long voyage between America and England was a trader. So was the owner of a general store in America who bought the clothes and dry goods from other countries and sold them in his store. As America grew, so did the volume of goods it produced for trade. The fertile new country allowed farmers to grow enough crops to feed its own citizens as well as to trade with less fertile countries. Huge barges of grain moved down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico to be traded.

America is a comparatively rich country and its consumers demand a huge variety of products that make large profits for today's importers. But before the 1940s, the United States had a largely protectionist approach to foreign trade, meaning that the government enforced high tariffs and rigorous import restrictions to protect home market producers from overseas competition. In the 1960s, the United States experienced an erosion of its dominant position in world trade, and in most of the years after 1970; it has reported a negative trade balance (more imports than exports).

The U.S. trade deficit continues be a major concern. Despite the Trump Administration's implementation of America First trade policies that aimed to decrease the deficit, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the U.S. posted a more than $891 billion merchandise trade deficit in 2018—the largest in the history of the country. 

The growth of foreign business and its importance to the national economy has created a need for specialists who can handle the complex problems of international business.





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