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An import is a good brought into a jurisdiction, especially across a national border, from an external source. The purchaser of the exotic good is called an importer. An import in the receiving country is an export from the sending country. Importation and exportation are the defining financial transactions of international trade.
In international trade, the importation and exportation of goods are limited by import quotas and mandates from the customs authority. The importing and exporting jurisdictions may impose a tariff (tax) on the goods. In addition, the importation and exportation of goods are subject to trade agreements between the importing and exporting jurisdictions.
"Imports" consist of transactions in goods and services (sales, barter, gifts or grants) from non-residents to residents. The exact definition of imports in national accounts includes and excludes specific "borderline" cases. A general delimitation of imports in national accounts is given below:
Basic trade statistics often differ in terms of definition and coverage from the requirements in the national accounts:
Balance of trade represents a difference in value for import and export for a country. A country has demand for an import when domestic quantity demanded exceeds domestic quantity supplied, or when the price of the good (or service) on the world market is less than the price on the domestic market.
The balance of trade, usually denoted , is the difference between the value of the goods (and services) a country exports and the value of the goods the country imports:
, or equivalently
A trade deficit occurs when imports are large relative to exports. Imports are impacted principally by a country's income and its productive resources. For example, the US imports oil from Canada even though the US has oil and Canada uses oil. However, consumers in the US are willing to pay more for the marginal barrel of oil than Canadian consumers are, because there is more oil demanded in the US than there is oil produced.
In macroeconomic theory, the value of imports can be modeled as a function of the domestic absorption and the real exchange rate . These are the two largest factors of imports and they both affect imports positively:
There are two basic types of import:
Companies import goods and services to supply to the domestic market at a cheaper price and better quality than competing goods manufactured in the domestic market. Companies import products that are not available in the local market.
There are three broad types of importers:
Direct-import refers to a type of business importation involving a major retailer (e.g. Wal-Mart) and an overseas manufacturer. A retailer typically purchases products designed by local companies that can be manufactured overseas. In a direct-import program, the retailer bypasses the local supplier (colloquial middle-man) and buys the final product directly from the manufacturer, possibly saving in added cost data on the value of imports and their quantities often broken down by detailed lists of products are available in statistical collections on international trade published by the statistical services of intergovernmental organisations (e.g. UNSTAT, FAOSTAT, OECD), supranational statistical institutes (e.g. Eurostat) and national statistical institutes. Industrial and consumer goods.