May 30, 2023 

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MAASTRICHT TREATY: An agreement among 12 European nations in 1992 that established the European Union. The 12 nations signing the Maastricht Treaty are Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Great Britain. This treaty was designed to form a more economically and politically integrated European economy, including the reduction or elimination of tariffs and nontariff barriers, the creation of monetary unit (the euro), the establishment of a common military and defense policy, and centralized monetary policy. This amended early agreements setting up a European common market. The Maastricht Treaty is merely one of several international trade agreements created over the years to reduce trade restrictions. Others include the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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Goods and services produced by the domestic economy and purchased by the foreign sector. Exports are goods sold to other countries. Exports are the counter to imports--goods produced by the foreign sector and purchased by domestic economy. Exports, together with imports, are the essence of foreign trade--goods and services that are traded among the citizens of different nations. Exports and imports are frequently combined into a single term, net exports (exports minus imports).
Exports are goods and services that the domestic business sector sells to the foreign sector. In most cases, exports are tangible goods that are physically shipped to the foreign sector for purchase within the boundaries of other countries. In some cases, though, exports are tangible goods or intangible services that are actually purchased and consumed by foreign citizens in the domestic economy.

Foreign Selling

The domestic business sector sells exports to the foreign sector. Examples of export purchases can be had with a look at Shady Valley.
  • Sending There: Exports largely consist of goods physically shipped to countries in the foreign sector. OmniMotors has a substantial South American market for its popular XL GT 9000 Sports Coupe. The Quadra DG Computer Works sells a great number of its state-of-the-art computer system, the Quadra 9000, to willing buyers in Australia and New Zealand. Wacky Willy Stuffed Amigos, produced by The Wacky Willy Company, are extremely popular throughout Asia. Even Phil Gardener, the zucchini grower, sells zucchinis to a family in Paraguay.

  • Buying Here: Exports also include any goods or services purchased by foreign citizens within the domestic economy. The purchase of a domestically produced Wacky Willy Stuffed Amigo at the local MegaMart Discount SuperCenter by a tourist from Spain, is an export. When foreign tourists buy tickets to ride the Monster Loop Death Plunge roller coaster at the Shady Valley Amusement Park, then exports occur. Educational services purchased by foreign students enrolled at the Ambling Institute of Technology also fall under the heading of exports. Other services purchased by foreign individuals, including medical exams, dental check-ups, and legal advice, are also exports.

A World of Trade

Exports are one half of the trade that takes place among countries. The other half is imports--goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy. In fact, exports and import are two perspectives on the same basic process. The export of one country is the import of another.

To see how exports fit into the world of global trade, consider a few notions:

  • Foreign Trade: Foreign trade is the exchange of goods and services that takes place among countries. One country buys. Another country sells. Foreign trade is essentially a market transaction in which the buyers reside in one nation and the sellers reside in another. Exports view this trading process from the perspective of the selling country.

  • Imports: Imports are goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy. Imports are goods bought from other countries. Imports view the trading process from the perspective of the buying country.

  • Net Exports: Net exports are the difference between exports and imports, that is, exports minus imports. This is the "balance of trade" between exports and imports. If exports are greater than imports, then net exports are positive. If exports are less than imports, then net exports are negative. Net exports provide a handy way of indicating the overall interaction between the domestic economy and the foreign sector.

A Circular Flow Injection

The Circular Flow
Circular Flow
The role that exports play in the macroeconomy can be illustrated by the circular flow model. The circular flow captures the continuous movement of production, consumption, income, and factor payments between producers and consumers.

A basic representation of the circular flow is displayed to the right. The components of this model are the four macroeconomic sectors--household, business, government and foreign--and the three macroeconomic markets--product, resource, and financial.

Exports are the payment flow from the foreign sector to the domestic business sector in exchange for the physical flow of goods and services from the domestic business sector to the foreign sector. The key implication from the circular flow analysis is that an increase in exports EXPANDS the total volume contained in the domestic flow. That is, exports are considered an injection into the circular flow.

This expanded volume has two important, interrelated implications:

  • First, it means increases gross domestic product received by the domestic business sector, factor payments to domestically-owned resources, national income earned by domestic citizens, and consumption undertaken by the domestic household sector.

  • Second, it means that there is more income that can be diverted to domestic saving to the financial markets for use by the domestic business sector for capital investment and taxes to the domestic government sector for government purchases.
All in all, if exports are greater, more is in the domestic circular flow. The domestic economy expands. It is for this reason that most domestic business leaders and policy makers tend to promote exports to foreign countries.

The Good and The Bad

The circular flow indicates that exports inject income into the domestic economy. This is good. However, not all is good with exports. Like much of life, exports have both good and bad.
  • The Good: Exports are good for the overall volume of the circular flow. They are also good for domestic companies (and their resource owners) who have additional markets for their products. These companies produce more output and their resource owners receive more income.

  • The Bad: Exports are bad for domestic consumers. The foreign sector provides greater competition on the buying side, meaning domestic consumers are likely to pay higher prices.
Does the good outweigh the bad? For business firms and resource owners with an expanded market, the answer is probably yes. For other domestic consumers, the answer might be no. For the entire economy, the good generally outweighs the bad, but not always.


Recommended Citation:

EXPORTS, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia,, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2023. [Accessed: May 30, 2023].

Check Out These Related Terms...

     | import | net exports | consumption | consumption expenditures | saving | investment | investment borrowing | government purchases | government borrowing |

Or For A Little Background...

     | foreign sector | macroeconomics |

And For Further Study...

     | circular flow | business cycles | economic goals | macroeconomic sectors | macroeconomic markets | macroeconomic problems | macroeconomic theories | net-export effect | exchange rates, aggregate demand determinant |

Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | World Trade Organization | U.S. International Trade Administration | NAFTA Secretariat, |

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