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IMPORTS: Goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy. In other words, imports are goods purchased from other countries. The United States, for example, buys a lot of the stuff produced within the boundaries of other countries, including bananas, coffee, cars, chocolate, computers, and, well, a lot of other products. Imports, together with exports, are the essence of foreign trade--goods and services that are traded among the citizens of different nations. Imports and exports are frequently combined into a single term, net exports (exports minus imports).

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LEGAL CLAIM: Ownership of the physical goods, services, and resources that make up the real side of the economy. Legal claims are a key feature of the paper, or financial side of the economy. Transferring legal claims is the primary method of diverting income from household saving to investment and government borrowing. Legal-claim buyers loan income and legal-claim sellers borrower income.

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BALANCE ON MERCHANDISE TRADE

A subset of the balance of payments current account that records the difference between the payments received for exports of goods to other nations and the payments made for the imports of goods from other nations. The goods included are physical or tangible goods, but not intangible services. The balance on merchandise trade is thus appropriately divided into merchandise exported and merchandise imported. Two other subsets of the current account include the balance on services and unilateral transfers. The commonly termed balance of trade is the sum of the balance on merchandise trade and the balance on services.

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