Export goods or services are provided to foreign consumers by domestic producers. It is a good that is sent to another country for sale. Export of commercial quantities of goods normally requires involvement of the customs authorities in both the country of export and the country of import. The advent of small trades over the internet such as through Amazon and e-Bay have largely bypassed the involvement of Customs in many countries due to the low individual values of these trades. Nonetheless, these small exports are still subject to legal restrictions applied by the country of export.

The theory of international trade and commercial policy is one of the oldest branches of economic thought. Exporting is a major component of international trade, and the macroeconomic risks and benefits of exporting are regularly discussed and disputed by economists and others. Two views concerning international trade present different perspectives. The first recognizes the benefits of international trade. The second concerns itself with the possibly that certain domestic industries (or laborers, or culture) could be harmed by foreign competition.

Methods of export include a product or good or information being mailed, hand-delivered, shipped by air, shipped by boat, uploaded to an internet site, or downloaded from an internet site. Exports also include the distribution of information that can be sent in the form of an email, an email attachment, a fax or can be shared during a telephone conversation.

Trade barriers are generally defined as government laws, regulations, policy, or practices that either protect domestic products from foreign competition or artificially stimulate exports of particular domestic products. While restrictive business practices sometimes have a similar effect, they are not usually regarded as trade barriers. The most common foreign trade barriers are government-imposed measures and policies that restrict, prevent, or impede the international exchange of goods and services.

International agreements limit trade in, and the transfer of, certain types of goods and information e.g. goods associated with weapons of mass destruction, arms and torture. Examples include Nuclear Suppliers Group - limiting trade in nuclear weapons and associated goods (currently only 45 countries participate), The Australia Group - limiting trade in chemical & biological weapons and associated goods (currently only 39 countries), Missile Technology Control Regime - limiting trade in the means of delivering weapons of mass destruction (currently only 34 countries) and The Wassenaar Arrangement - limiting trade in conventional arms and technological developments (currently only 40 countries).

A tariff is a tax placed on a specific good or set of goods exported from or imported to a country, creating an economic barrier to trade.
Usually the tactic is used when a country's domestic output of the good is falling and imports from foreign competitors are rising, particularly if there exist strategic reasons for retaining a domestic production capability.
Some failing industries receive a protection with an effect similar to a subsidies in that by placing the tariff on the industry, the industry is less enticed to produce goods in a quicker, cheaper, and more productive fashion. The third reason for a tariff involves addressing the issue of dumping. Dumping involves a country producing highly excessive amounts of goods and dumping the goods on another foreign country, producing the effect of prices that are "too low". Too low can refer to either pricing the good from the foreign market at a price lower than charged in the domestic market of the country of origin. The other reference to dumping relates or refers to the producer selling the product at a price in which there is no profit or a loss. The purpose (and expected outcome) of the tariff is to encourage spending on domestic goods and services.

Protective tariffs sometimes protect what are known as infant industries that are in the phase of expansive growth. A tariff is used temporarily to allow the industry to succeed in spite of strong competition. Protective tariffs are considered valid if the resources are more productive in their new use than they would be if the industry had not been started. The infant industry eventually must incorporate itself into a market without the protection of government subsidies.
Tariffs can create tension between countries. Examples include the United States steel tariff of 2002 and when China placed a 14% tariff on imported auto parts. Such tariffs usually lead to filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and, if that fails, could eventually head toward the country placing a tariff against the other nation in spite, to impress pressure to remove the tariff.

To subsidize an industry or company refers to, in this instance, a governmental providing supplemental financial support to manipulate the price below market value. Subsidies are generally used for failing industries that need a boost in domestic spending. Subsidizing encourages greater demand for a good or service because of the slashed price.

The effect of subsidies deters other countries that are able to produce a specific product or service at a faster, cheaper, and more productive rate. With the lowered price, these efficient producers cannot compete. The life of a subsidy is generally short-lived, but sometimes can be implemented on a more permanent basis.
The agricultural industry is commonly subsidized, both in the United States, and in other countries including Japan and nations located in the European Union (EU).
Critics argue such subsidies cost developing nations $24 billion annually in lost income according to a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute, a D.C. group funded partly by the World Bank. However, other nations are not the only economic 'losers'. Subsidies in the U.S. heavily depend upon taxpayer dollars. In 2000, the U.S. spent an all-time record $32.3 billion for the agricultural industry. The EU spends about $50 billion annually, nearly half its annual budget on its common agricultural policy and rural development.

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