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by Danna Martínez

The exchange of what someone has for what someone else needs. Today, trade is one of the most influential activities in the human lifestyle.

The word commerce comes from the Latin commercĭum. This word means “buying and selling of goods.” The origin of trade dates back centuries, towards prehistory. It is also called primitive commerce. At that time, the people exchanged the products between different groups to satisfy their needs. Until that moment, there was no intervention of money.

Primitive trade involved an exchange of goods and food. Over time, this trade would allow a global business of scientific and technological innovations.

The most primitive form of commerce was called barter. Barter consisted of exchanging goods for other goods of equal value. Later, the need arose for merchants to find a more practical means of payment that was not perishable. In this way, man substituted goods for objects. Later, the first coins appeared. At that time, wealth began to be stored and exchanged. This event gave way to the emergence of capitalist societies and social stratification.

Over time, the demand for goods and services increased. The trade sought to expand to different communities. People started looking for new trade routes around the world. This expansion assumes a division between:

  • Foreign trade. This trade is the commercial transactions of goods and services with the foreigner. In other words, trade between countries. These transactions can be goods, resources, ideas, technologies, and services.
  • Domestic trade. Unlike a foreign exchange, domestic trade takes place within the same territory. This type of treaty has significant local influence.

Trade is considered any negotiation that involves an exchange of products, goods, or services. Currently, trade is one of the main economic activities of society. A set of rules and conditions regulates these types of negotiations. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization that controls and regulates trade between countries. Today there are 164 active members in the WTO. According to the WTO, “The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.”

Apart from the economic exchange, trade allowed human beings to come into contact with other communities. Trade formed a cultural, social, and economic connection between groups.

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