Trade

Trade involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. A system or network that allows trade is called a market.

An early form of trade, barter, saw the direct exchange of goods and services for other goods and services.[1] Barter involves trading things without the use of money.[1] Later, one bartering party started to involve precious metals, which gained symbolic as well as practical importance. Modern traders generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. The invention of money (and later credit, paper money and non-physical money) greatly simplified and promoted trade. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade involving more than two traders is called multilateral trade.

Trade exists due to specialization and the division of labor, a predominant form of economic activity in which individuals and groups concentrate on a small aspect of production, but use their output in trades for other products and needs.[2] Trade exists between regions because different regions may have a comparative advantage (perceived or real) in the production of some trade-able commodity—including production of natural resources scarce or limited elsewhere, or because different regions' sizes may encourage mass production. In such circumstances, trade at market prices between locations can benefit both locations.

Retail trade consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a very fixed location[3] (such as a department store, boutique or kiosk), online or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption or use by the purchaser.[4] Wholesale trade is defined as traffic in goods that are sold as merchandise to retailers, or to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services.

Kaufmann-1568
A trader in Germany, 16th century

Etymology

Trade is from Middle English trade ("path, course of conduct"), introduced into English by Hanseatic merchants, from Middle Low German trade ("track, course"), from Old Saxon trada ("spoor, track"), from Proto-Germanic *tradō ("track, way"), and cognate with Old English tredan ("to tread").

Commerce is derived from the Latin commercium, from cum "together" and merx, "merchandise."[5]

History

Prehistory

Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[6]

In the Mediterranean region the earliest contact between cultures were of members of the species Homo sapiens principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BCE.[7][8][9]

Some trace the origins of commerce to the very start of transaction in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other.

The caduceus has been used today as the symbol of commerce[10] with which Mercury has traditionally been associated.

Ancient history

Attic red-figure Pottery in the Eremitage Sankt Petersburg
Ancient Etruscan "aryballoi" terracota vessels unearthed in the 1860s at Bolzhaya Bliznitsa tumulus near Phanagoria, South Russia (then part of the Bosporan Kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus); on exhibit at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Trade is believed to have taken place throughout much of recorded human history. There is evidence of the exchange of obsidian and flint during the stone age. Trade in obsidian is believed to have taken place in Guinea from 17,000 BCE.[11][12]

The earliest use of obsidian in the Near East dates to the Lower and Middle paleolithic.[13]

— HIH Prince Mikasa no Miya Takahito

Trade in the stone age was investigated by Robert Carr Bosanquet in excavations of 1901.[14][15] Trade is believed to have first begun in south west Asia.[16][17]

Archaeological evidence of obsidian use provides data on how this material was increasingly the preferred choice rather than chert from the late Mesolithic to Neolithic, requiring exchange as deposits of obsidian are rare in the Mediterranean region.[18][19][20]

Obsidian is thought to have provided the material to make cutting utensils or tools, although since other more easily obtainable materials were available, use was found exclusive to the higher status of the tribe using "the rich man's flint".[16]

Obsidian was traded at distances of 900 kilometres within the Mediterranean region.[21]

Trade in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic of Europe was greatest in this material.[18][22] Networks were in existence at around 12,000 BCE[23] Anatolia was the source primarily for trade with the Levant, Iran and Egypt according to Zarins study of 1990.[24][25][26] Melos and Lipari sources produced among the most widespread trading in the Mediterranean region as known to archaeology.[27]

The Sari-i-Sang mine in the mountains of Afghanistan was the largest source for trade of lapis lazuli.[28][29] The material was most largely traded during the Kassite period of Babylonia beginning 1595 BCE.[30][31]

Later trade

Mediterranean and Near East

Ebla was a prominent trading centre during the third millennia, with a network reaching into Anatolia and north Mesopotamia.[27][32][33][34]

Silk route
A map of the Silk Road trade route between Europe and Asia.

Materials used for creating jewelry were traded with Egypt since 3000 BCE. Long-range trade routes first appeared in the 3rd millennium BCE, when Sumerians in Mesopotamia traded with the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. The Phoenicians were noted sea traders, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea, and as far north as Britain for sources of tin to manufacture bronze. For this purpose they established trade colonies the Greeks called emporia.[35]

From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spice to Europe from the far east, including India and China. Roman commerce allowed its empire to flourish and endure. The latter Roman Republic and the Pax Romana of the Roman empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy, as Rome had become the sole effective sea power in the Mediterranean with the conquest of Egypt and the near east.[36]

In ancient Greece Hermes was the god of trade[37][38] (commerce) and weights and measures,[39] for Romans Mercurius also god of merchants, whose festival was celebrated by traders on the 25th day of the fifth month.[40][41] The concept of free trade was an antithesis to the will and economic direction of the sovereigns of the ancient Greek states. Free trade between states was stifled by the need for strict internal controls (via taxation) to maintain security within the treasury of the sovereign, which nevertheless enabled the maintenance of a modicum of civility within the structures of functional community life.[42][43]

The fall of the Roman empire, and the succeeding Dark Ages brought instability to Western Europe and a near collapse of the trade network in the western world. Trade however continued to flourish among the kingdoms of Africa, Middle East, India, China and Southeast Asia. Some trade did occur in the west. For instance, Radhanites were a medieval guild or group (the precise meaning of the word is lost to history) of Jewish merchants who traded between the Christians in Europe and the Muslims of the Near East.[44]

Indo-Pacific

Austronesian maritime trade network in the Indian Ocean
Austronesian proto-historic and historic maritime trade network in the Indian Ocean[45]

The first true maritime trade network in the Indian Ocean was by the Austronesian peoples of Island Southeast Asia,[45] who built the first ocean-going ships.[46] They established trade routes with Southern India and Sri Lanka as early as 1500 BC, ushering an exchange of material culture (like catamarans, outrigger boats, sewn-plank boats, and paan) and cultigens (like coconuts, sandalwood, bananas, and sugarcane); as well as connecting the material cultures of India and China. Indonesians, in particular were trading in spices (mainly cinnamon and cassia) with East Africa using catamaran and outrigger boats and sailing with the help of the Westerlies in the Indian Ocean. This trade network expanded to reach as far as Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, resulting in the Austronesian colonization of Madagascar by the first half of the first millennium AD. It continued up to historic times, later becoming the Maritime Silk Road.[45][47][48][49][50]

Mesoamerica

Dinero azada de Mexico (siglos XIV-XV)
Tajadero or axe money used as currency in Mesoamerica. It had a fixed worth of 8,000 cacao seeds, which were also used as currency.[51]

The emergence of exchange networks in the Pre-Columbian societies of and near to Mexico are known to have occurred within recent years before and after 1500 BCE.[52]

Trade networks reached north to Oasisamerica. There is evidence of established maritime trade with the cultures of northwestern South America and the Caribbean.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, commerce developed in Europe by trading luxury goods at trade fairs. Wealth became converted into movable wealth or capital. Banking systems developed where money on account was transferred across national boundaries. Hand to hand markets became a feature of town life, and were regulated by town authorities.

Western Europe established a complex and expansive trade network with cargo ships being the main workhorse for the movement of goods, Cogs and Hulks are two examples of such cargo ships.[53] Many ports would develop their own extensive trade networks. The English port city of Bristol traded with peoples from what is modern day Iceland, all along the western coast of France, and down to what is now Spain.[54]

Late Medieval Trade Routes
A map showing the main trade routes for goods within late medieval Europe.

During the Middle Ages, Central Asia was the economic center of the world.[55] The Sogdians dominated the East-West trade route known as the Silk Road after the 4th century CE up to the 8th century CE, with Suyab and Talas ranking among their main centers in the north. They were the main caravan merchants of Central Asia.

From the 8th to the 11th century, the Vikings and Varangians traded as they sailed from and to Scandinavia. Vikings sailed to Western Europe, while Varangians to Russia. The Hanseatic League was an alliance of trading cities that maintained a trade monopoly over most of Northern Europe and the Baltic, between the 13th and 17th centuries.

The Age of Sail and the Industrial Revolution

Vasco da Gama pioneered the European Spice trade in 1498 when he reached Calicut after sailing around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of the African continent. Prior to this, the flow of spice into Europe from India was controlled by Islamic powers, especially Egypt. The spice trade was of major economic importance and helped spur the Age of Discovery in Europe. Spices brought to Europe from the Eastern world were some of the most valuable commodities for their weight, sometimes rivaling gold.

From 1070 onward, kingdoms in West Africa became significant members of global trade.[56] This came initially through the movement of gold and other resources sent out by Muslim traders on the Trans-Saharan trading network.[56] Later, West Africa exported gold, spices, cloth, and slaves to European traders such as the Portuguese, Dutch, and English.[56] This was often in exchange for cloth, iron, or cowrie shells which were used locally as currency.[56]

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese gained economic advantage in the Kingdom of Kongo due to different philosophies of trade.[56] Whereas Portuguese traders concentrated on the accumulation of capital, in Kongo spiritual meaning was attached to many objects of trade. According to economic historian Toby Green, in Kongo "giving more than receiving was a symbol of spiritual and political power, and privilege."[56]

In the 16th century, the Seventeen Provinces were the centre of free trade, imposing no exchange controls, and advocating the free movement of goods. Trade in the East Indies was dominated by Portugal in the 16th century, the Dutch Republic in the 17th century, and the British in the 18th century. The Spanish Empire developed regular trade links across both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.

Wojciech Gerson - Gdańsk in the XVII century
Danzig in the 17th century, a port of the Hanseatic League.

In 1776, Adam Smith published the paper An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. It criticised Mercantilism, and argued that economic specialisation could benefit nations just as much as firms. Since the division of labour was restricted by the size of the market, he said that countries having access to larger markets would be able to divide labour more efficiently and thereby become more productive. Smith said that he considered all rationalisations of import and export controls "dupery", which hurt the trading nation as a whole for the benefit of specific industries.

In 1799, the Dutch East India Company, formerly the world's largest company, became bankrupt, partly due to the rise of competitive free trade.

Berber Trade with Timbuktu 1300s
Berber trade with Timbuktu, 1853.

19th century

In 1817, David Ricardo, James Mill and Robert Torrens showed that free trade would benefit the industrially weak as well as the strong, in the famous theory of comparative advantage. In Principles of Political Economy and Taxation Ricardo advanced the doctrine still considered the most counterintuitive in economics:

When an inefficient producer sends the merchandise it produces best to a country able to produce it more efficiently, both countries benefit.

The ascendancy of free trade was primarily based on national advantage in the mid 19th century. That is, the calculation made was whether it was in any particular country's self-interest to open its borders to imports.

John Stuart Mill proved that a country with monopoly pricing power on the international market could manipulate the terms of trade through maintaining tariffs, and that the response to this might be reciprocity in trade policy. Ricardo and others had suggested this earlier. This was taken as evidence against the universal doctrine of free trade, as it was believed that more of the economic surplus of trade would accrue to a country following reciprocal, rather than completely free, trade policies. This was followed within a few years by the infant industry scenario developed by Mill promoting the theory that government had the duty to protect young industries, although only for a time necessary for them to develop full capacity. This became the policy in many countries attempting to industrialise and out-compete English exporters. Milton Friedman later continued this vein of thought, showing that in a few circumstances tariffs might be beneficial to the host country; but never for the world at large.[57]

20th century

The Great Depression was a major economic recession that ran from 1929 to the late 1930s. During this period, there was a great drop in trade and other economic indicators.

The lack of free trade was considered by many as a principal cause of the depression causing stagnation and inflation.[58] Only during the World War II the recession ended in the United States. Also during the war, in 1944, 44 countries signed the Bretton Woods Agreement, intended to prevent national trade barriers, to avoid depressions. It set up rules and institutions to regulate the international political economy: the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later divided into the World Bank and Bank for International Settlements). These organisations became operational in 1946 after enough countries ratified the agreement. In 1947, 23 countries agreed to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to promote free trade.[59]

The European Union became the world's largest exporter of manufactured goods and services, the biggest export market for around 80 countries.[60]

21st century

Today, trade is merely a subset within a complex system of companies which try to maximize their profits by offering products and services to the market (which consists both of individuals and other companies) at the lowest production cost. A system of international trade has helped to develop the world economy but, in combination with bilateral or multilateral agreements to lower tariffs or to achieve free trade, has sometimes harmed third-world markets for local products.

Free trade

Free trade advanced further in the late 20th century and early 2000s:

Accarias de Sérionne - Intérêts des nations de l'Europe, dévélopés relativement au commerce, 1766 - 5790093
Intérêts des nations de l'Europe, dévélopés relativement au commerce (1766)

Perspectives

Protectionism

Protectionism is the policy of restraining and discouraging trade between states and contrasts with the policy of free trade. This policy often takes of form of tariffs and restrictive quotas. Protectionist policies were particularly prevalent in the 1930s, between the Great Depression and the onset of World War II.

Religion

Islamic teachings encourage trading (and condemn usury or interest).[61][62]

Judeao-Christian teachings prohibit fraud and dishonest measures, and historically also forbade the charging of interest on loans.[63][64]

Development of money

The first instances of money were objects with intrinsic value. This is called commodity money and includes any commonly available commodity that has intrinsic value; historical examples include pigs, rare seashells, whale's teeth, and (often) cattle. In medieval Iraq, bread was used as an early form of money. In Mexico under Montezuma cocoa beans were money. [6]

Currency was introduced as a standardised money to facilitate a wider exchange of goods and services. This first stage of currency, where metals were used to represent stored value, and symbols to represent commodities, formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years.

Numismatists have examples of coins from the earliest large-scale societies, although these were initially unmarked lumps of precious metal.[65]

Trends

Doha rounds

The Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations aimed to lower barriers to trade around the world, with a focus on making trade fairer for developing countries. Talks have been hung over a divide between the rich developed countries, represented by the G20, and the major developing countries. Agricultural subsidies are the most significant issue upon which agreement has been hardest to negotiate. By contrast, there was much agreement on trade facilitation and capacity building. The Doha round began in Doha, Qatar, and negotiations were continued in: Cancún, Mexico; Geneva, Switzerland; and Paris, France and Hong Kong.

China

Beginning around 1978, the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) began an experiment in economic reform. In contrast to the previous Soviet-style centrally planned economy, the new measures progressively relaxed restrictions on farming, agricultural distribution and, several years later, urban enterprises and labor. The more market-oriented approach reduced inefficiencies and stimulated private investment, particularly by farmers, that led to increased productivity and output. One feature was the establishment of four (later five) Special Economic Zones located along the South-east coast.

The reforms proved spectacularly successful in terms of increased output, variety, quality, price and demand. In real terms, the economy doubled in size between 1978 and 1986, doubled again by 1994, and again by 2003. On a real per capita basis, doubling from the 1978 base took place in 1987, 1996 and 2006. By 2008, the economy was 16.7 times the size it was in 1978, and 12.1 times its previous per capita levels. International trade progressed even more rapidly, doubling on average every 4.5 years. Total two-way trade in January 1998 exceeded that for all of 1978; in the first quarter of 2009, trade exceeded the full-year 1998 level. In 2008, China's two-way trade totaled US$2.56 trillion.[66]

In 1991 China joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group, a trade-promotion forum.<https://www.apec.org/About-Us/About-APEC/Member-Economies> In 2001, it also joined the World Trade Organization.<https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/china_e.htm>

International trade

International trade is the exchange of goods and services across national borders. In most countries, it represents a significant part of GDP. While international trade has been present throughout much of history (see Silk Road, Amber Road), its economic, social, and political importance have increased in recent centuries, mainly because of Industrialization, advanced transportation, globalization, multinational corporations, and outsourcing.

Empirical evidence for the success of trade can be seen in the contrast between countries such as South Korea, which adopted a policy of export-oriented industrialization, and India, which historically had a more closed policy. South Korea has done much better by economic criteria than India over the past fifty years, though its success also has to do with effective state institutions.

Trade sanctions

Trade sanctions against a specific country are sometimes imposed, in order to punish that country for some action. An embargo, a severe form of externally imposed isolation, is a blockade of all trade by one country on another. For example, the United States has had an embargo against Cuba for over 40 years.[67]

Trade barriers

International trade, which is governed by the World Trade Organization, can be restricted by both tariff and non-tariff barriers. International trade is usually regulated by governmental quotas and restrictions, and often taxed by tariffs. Tariffs are usually on imports, but sometimes countries may impose export tariffs or subsidies. Non-tariff barriers include Sanitary and Phytosanitary rules, labeling requirements and food safety regulations. All of these are called trade barriers. If a government removes all trade barriers, a condition of free trade exists. A government that implements a protectionist policy establishes trade barriers. There are usually few trade restrictions within countries although a common feature of many developing countries is police and other road blocks along main highways, that primarily exist to extract bribes.

Fair trade

The "fair trade" movement, also known as the "trade justice" movement, promotes the use of labour, environmental and social standards for the production of commodities, particularly those exported from the Third and Second Worlds to the First World. Such ideas have also sparked a debate on whether trade itself should be codified as a human right.[68]

Importing firms voluntarily adhere to fair trade standards or governments may enforce them through a combination of employment and commercial law. Proposed and practiced fair trade policies vary widely, ranging from the common prohibition of goods made using slave labour to minimum price support schemes such as those for coffee in the 1980s. Non-governmental organizations also play a role in promoting fair trade standards by serving as independent monitors of compliance with labeling requirements. As such, it is a form of Protectionism.

See also

Notes

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  2. ^ Dollar, D; Kraay, A (2004). "Trade, Growth, and Poverty" (PDF). The Economic Journal. 114 (493): F22–F49. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.509.1584. doi:10.1111/j.0013-0133.2004.00186.x.
  3. ^ Compare peddling and other types of retail trade:Hoffman, K. Douglas, ed. (2005). Marketing principles and best practices (3 ed.). Thomson/South-Western. p. 407. ISBN 978-0-324-22519-8. Retrieved 2018-05-03. Five types of nonstore retailing will be discussed: street peddling, direct selling, mail-order, automatic-merchandising machine operators, and electronic shopping.
  4. ^ "Distribution Services". Foreign Agricultural Service. 2000-02-09. Archived from the original on 2006-05-15. Retrieved 2006-04-04.
  5. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Commerce" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 766.
  6. ^ Watson (2005), Introduction.
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  8. ^ V Stefansson. Great Adventures and Explorations: From the Earliest Times to the Present As Told by the Explorers Themselves Kessinger Publishing, 30 May 2005 ISBN 1-4179-9090-2 Retrieved 2012-06-26
  9. ^ National Maritime Historical Society. Sea History, Issues 13-25 published by National Maritime Historical Society 1979. Retrieved 2012-06-26
  10. ^ Hans Biedermann, James Hulbert (trans.), Dictionary of Symbolism - Cultural Icons and the Meanings behind Them, p. 54.
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  36. ^ Pax Romana let average villagers throughout the Empire conduct day to day affairs without fear of armed attack.
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  57. ^ Price theory Milton Friedman
  58. ^ (secondary) British Broadcasting Corporationhistory
  59. ^ (secondary) M Smith – V. Gollancz, 1996 ISBN 0-575-06150-2
  60. ^ "EU position in world trade". European Commission. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  61. ^ Nomani & Rahnema (1994), p. ?. "I want nine out of ten people from my Ummah (nation) as traders" and "Trader, who did trading in truth, and sold the right quantity and quality of goods, he will stand along Prophets and Martyrs, on Judgment day".
  62. ^ "O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities; but let there be among you traffic and trade by mutual good-will." Quran 4:29 and "Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury." Quran 2:275
  63. ^ Leviticus 19:13
  64. ^ Leviticus 19:35
  65. ^ Gold was an especially common form of early money, as described in Davies (2002).
  66. ^ Division, US Census Bureau Foreign Trade. "Foreign Trade: Data". www.census.gov. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  67. ^ "U.S.–Cuba Relations". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  68. ^ "Should trade be considered a human right?". COPLA. 9 December 2008. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011.

Bibliography

  • Beckwith, Christopher I (2011) [2009]. Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton: University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-15034-5.
  • Bernstein, William (2008). A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0-8021-4416-4.
  • Davies, Glyn (2002) [1995]. Ideas: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1773-0.
  • Nomani, Farhad; Rahnema, Ali (1994). Islamic Economic Systems. New Jersey: Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-85649-058-0.
  • Paine, Lincoln (2013). The Sea and Civilisation: a Maritime History of the World. Atlantic. (Covers sea-trading over the whole world from ancient times.)
  • Watson, Peter (2005). Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention from Fire to Freud. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-06-621064-3.

External links

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN; AH-see-ahn, AH-zee-ahn) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia. It also regularly engages other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and a prominent and influential organization. It is involved in numerous international affairs, and hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world.

Atlantic slave trade

The Atlantic slave trade or transatlantic slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and its Middle Passage, and existed from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were people from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders (with a small number being captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids), who brought them to the Americas. The South Atlantic and Caribbean economies especially were dependent on the supply of secure labour for the production of commodity crops, making goods and clothing to sell in Europe. This was crucial to those western European countries which, in the late 17th and 18th centuries, were vying with each other to create overseas empires.The Portuguese, in the 16th century, were the first to engage in the Atlantic slave trade. In 1526, they completed the first transatlantic slave voyage to Brazil, and other European countries soon followed. Shipowners regarded the slaves as cargo to be transported to the Americas as quickly and cheaply as possible, there to be sold to work on coffee, tobacco, cocoa, sugar and cotton plantations, gold and silver mines, rice fields, construction industry, cutting timber for ships, in skilled labour, and as domestic servants. The first Africans imported to the English colonies were classified as "indentured servants", like workers coming from England, and also as "apprentices for life". By the middle of the 17th century, slavery had hardened as a racial caste, with the slaves and their offspring being legally the property of their owners, and children born to slave mothers were also slaves. As property, the people were considered merchandise or units of labour, and were sold at markets with other goods and services.

The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires. Several had established outposts on the African coast where they purchased slaves from local African leaders. These slaves were managed by a factor who was established on or near the coast to expedite the shipping of slaves to the New World. Slaves were kept in a factory while awaiting shipment. Current estimates are that about 12 million to 12.8 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic over a span of 400 years, although the number purchased by the traders was considerably higher, as the passage had a high death rate. Near the beginning of the 19th century, various governments acted to ban the trade, although illegal smuggling still occurred. In the early 21st century, several governments issued apologies for the transatlantic slave trade.

East India Company

The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC) or the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Company Bahadur, or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies, and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.

Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies", the company rose to account for half of the world's trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been.The company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, coming relatively late to trade in the Indies. Before them the Portuguese Estado da Índia had traded there for much of the 16th century and the first of half a dozen Dutch Companies sailed to trade there from 1595. These Dutch companies amalgamated in March 1602 into the United East Indies Company (VOC), which introduced the first permanent joint stock from 1612 (meaning investment into shares did not need to be returned, but could be traded on a stock exchange). By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares. Initially the government owned no shares and had only indirect control until 1657 when permanent joint stock was established.During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India. Company interests turned from trade to territory during the 18th century as the Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company struggled with its French counterpart, the French East India Company (Compagnie française des Indes orientales) during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s. The battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left the company in control of Bengal and a major military and political power in India. In the following decades it gradually increased the extent of the territories under its control, controlling the majority of the Indian subcontinent either directly or indirectly via local puppet rulers under the threat of force by its Presidency armies, much of which were composed of native Indian sepoys.

By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of £13,464,561 (£1,359,675,850.80 as of 2018), and expenses of £14,017,473 (£1,415,509,909.85 as of 2018). The company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until 1858, when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown's assuming direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj.

Despite frequent government intervention, the company had recurring problems with its finances. It was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by then rendered it vestigial, powerless, and obsolete. The official government machinery of British India assumed the East India Company's governmental functions and absorbed its navy and its armies in 1858.

Globalization

Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. As a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, globalization is considered by some as a form of capitalist expansion which entails the integration of local and national economies into a global, unregulated market economy. Globalization has grown due to advances in transportation and communication technology. With the increased global interactions comes the growth of international trade, ideas, and culture. Globalization is primarily an economic process of interaction and integration that's associated with social and cultural aspects. However, conflicts and diplomacy are also large parts of the history of globalization, and modern globalization.

Economically, globalization involves goods, services, the economic resources of capital, technology, and data. Also, the expansions of global markets liberalize the economic

activities of the exchange of goods and funds. Removal of Cross-Border Trades barriers has made formation of

Global Markets more feasible. The steam locomotive, steamship, jet engine, and container ships are some of the advances in the means of transport while the rise of the telegraph and its modern offspring, the Internet and mobile phones show development in telecommunications infrastructure. All of these improvements have been major factors in globalization and have generated further interdependence of economic and cultural activities around the globe.Though many scholars place the origins of globalization in modern times, others trace its history long before the European Age of Discovery and voyages to the New World, some even to the third millennium BC. Large-scale globalization began in the 1820s. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the connectivity of the world's economies and cultures grew very quickly. The term globalization is recent, only establishing its current meaning in the 1970s.In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge. Further, environmental challenges such as global warming, cross-boundary water, air pollution, and over-fishing of the ocean are linked with globalization. Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment. Academic literature commonly subdivides globalization into three major areas: economic globalization, cultural globalization, and political globalization.

History of slavery

The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves have differed vastly in different systems of slavery in different times and places.Slavery occurs relatively rarely among hunter-gatherer populations because it develops under conditions of social stratification. Slavery operated in the very first civilizations (such as Sumer in Mesopotamia, which dates back as far as 3500 BCE). Slavery features in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (c. 1860 BCE), which refers to it as an established institution.

Slavery became common within much of Europe during the Dark Ages and it continued into the Middle Ages. The Byzantine–Ottoman wars (1265–1479) and the Ottoman wars in Europe (14th to 20th centuries) resulted in the capture of large numbers of Christian slaves. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Arabs and a number of West African kingdoms played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade, especially after 1600. David P. Forsythe wrote: "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom." The Republic of Ragusa became the first European country to ban the slave trade – in 1416. In modern times Denmark-Norway abolished the trade in 1802.

Although slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world (with the exception of penal labour), human trafficking remains an international problem and an estimated 25-40 million people were enslaved as of 2013, the majority in Asia. During the 1983–2005 Second Sudanese Civil War people were taken into slavery. Evidence emerged in the late 1990s of systematic child-slavery and -trafficking on cacao plantations in West Africa. Slavery continues into the 21st century. Although Mauritania criminalized slavery in August 2007, an estimated up to 600,000 men, women and children, or 20% of the population of Mauritania, are currently enslaved, many of them used as bonded labor. Slavery in 21st-century Islamism continues, and Islamist quasi-states such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Boko Haram have abducted and enslaved women and children (often to serve as sex slaves).

Illegal drug trade

The illegal drug trade or drug trafficking is a global black market dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs through the use of drug prohibition laws.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's World Drug Report 2005 estimates the size of the global illicit drug market at US$321.6 billion in 2003 alone. With a world GDP of US$36 trillion in the same year, the illegal drug trade may be estimated as nearly 1% of total global trade. Consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally and remains very difficult for local authorities to thwart its popularity.

International trade

International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories.In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP). While international trade has existed throughout history (for example Uttarapatha, Silk Road, Amber Road, scramble for Africa, Atlantic slave trade, salt roads), its economic, social, and political importance has been on the rise in recent centuries.

Carrying out trade at an international level is a complex process when compared to domestic trade. When trade takes place between two or more nations factors like currency, government policies, economy, judicial system, laws, and markets influence trade.

To smoothen and justify the process of trade between countries of different economic standing, some international economic organisations were formed, such as the World Trade Organization. These organisations work towards the facilitation and growth of international trade. Statistical services of intergovernmental and supranational organisations and national statistical agencies publish official statistics on international trade.

Lingua franca

A lingua franca ( (listen); lit. Frankish tongue), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between groups of people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.Lingua francas have developed around the world throughout human history, sometimes for commercial reasons (so-called "trade languages" facilitated trade), but also for cultural, religious, diplomatic, and administrative convenience, and as a means of exchanging information between scientists and other scholars of different nationalities. The term is taken from the medieval Mediterranean Lingua Franca, a Romance-based pidgin language used (especially by traders and seamen) as a lingua franca in the Mediterranean Basin from the 11th to the 19th century. A world language – a language spoken internationally and by a large number of people – is a language that may function as a global lingua franca.

North America

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface.

North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands (most notably the Caribbean) are included.

North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge approximately 40,000 to 17,000 years ago. The so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago (the beginning of the Archaic or Meso-Indian period). The Classic stage spans roughly the 6th to 13th centuries. The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, with the beginning of the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants.

Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, and their culture commonly reflects Western traditions.

North American Free Trade Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA; Spanish: Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte, TLCAN; French: Accord de libre-échange nord-américain, ALÉNA) is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994, and superseded the 1988 Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Canada. The NAFTA trade bloc is one of the largest trade blocs in the world by gross domestic product.

The impetus for a North American free trade zone began with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who made the idea part of his 1980 presidential campaign. After the signing of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement in 1988, the administrations of U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney agreed to negotiate what became NAFTA. Each submitted the agreement for ratification in their respective capitals in December 1992, but NAFTA faced significant opposition in both the United States and Canada. All three countries ratified NAFTA in 1993 after the addition of two side agreements, the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC).

Passage of NAFTA resulted in the elimination or reduction of barriers to trade and investment between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The effects of the agreement regarding issues such as employment, the environment, and economic growth have been the subject of political disputes. Most economic analyses indicate that NAFTA has been beneficial to the North American economies and the average citizen, but has harmed a small minority of workers in industries exposed to trade competition. Economists hold that withdrawing from NAFTA or renegotiating NAFTA in a way that reestablishes trade barriers would adversely affect the U.S. economy and cost jobs. However, Mexico would be much more severely affected by job loss and reduction of economic growth in both the short term and long term.After U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, he sought to replace NAFTA with a new agreement, beginning negotiations with Canada and Mexico. In September 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to replace NAFTA with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). NAFTA will remain in force, pending the ratification of the USMCA.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center (also known as One WTC, 1 World Trade Center, 1 WTC, or Freedom Tower) is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. One WTC is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world. The supertall structure has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. The building is bounded by West Street to the west, Vesey Street to the north, Fulton Street to the south, and Washington Street to the east.

The building's architect is David Childs, whose firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) also designed the Burj Khalifa and the Willis Tower. The construction of below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the new building began on April 27, 2006. One World Trade Center became the tallest structure in New York City on April 30, 2012, when it surpassed the height of the Empire State Building. The tower's steel structure was topped out on August 30, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper's spire was installed, making the building, including its spire, reach a total height of 1,776 feet (541 m). Its height in feet is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The building opened on November 3, 2014; the One World Observatory opened on May 29, 2015.On March 26, 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) confirmed that the building would be officially known by its legal name of "One World Trade Center", rather than its colloquial name of "Freedom Tower". The building is 104 standard floors high, but the tower has only 94 actual stories.

The new World Trade Center complex will eventually include five high-rise office buildings built along Greenwich Street, as well as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of One World Trade Center where the original Twin Towers stood. The construction of the new building is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex.

Paperback

A paperback, also known as a softcover or softback, is a type of book characterized by a thick paper or paperboard cover, and often held together with glue rather than stitches or staples. In contrast, hardcover or hardback books are bound with cardboard covered with cloth. The pages on the inside are made of paper.

Inexpensive books bound in paper have existed since at least the 19th century in such forms as pamphlets, yellowbacks, dime novels, and airport novels. Modern paperbacks can be differentiated by size. In the U.S., there are "mass-market paperbacks" and larger, more durable "trade paperbacks." In the U.K., there are A-format, B-format, and the largest C-format sizes.Paperback editions of books are issued when a publisher decides to release a book in a low-cost format. Cheaper, lower quality paper; glued (rather than stapled or sewn) bindings; and the lack of a hard cover may contribute to the lower cost of paperbacks. Paperbacks can be the preferred medium when a book is not expected to be a major seller or where the publisher wishes to release a book without putting forth a large investment. Examples include many novels, and newer editions or reprintings of older books.

Since paperbacks tend to have a smaller profit margin, many publishers try to balance the profit to be made by selling fewer hardcovers against the potential profit to be made by selling more paperbacks with a smaller profit per unit. First editions of many modern books, especially genre fiction, are issued in paperback. Best-selling books, on the other hand, may maintain sales in hardcover for an extended period to reap the greater profits that the hardcovers provide.

September 11 attacks

The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.

Four passenger airliners operated by two major U.S. passenger air carriers (United Airlines and American Airlines)—all of which departed from airports in the northeastern United States bound for San Francisco and Los Angeles—were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed. Debris and the resulting fires caused a partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Virginia, which led to a partial collapse of the building's west side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially flown toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers thwarted the hijackers. 9/11 is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.

Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda. The United States responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had failed to comply with U.S. demands to extradite Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda from Afghanistan. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks. Although Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's leader, initially denied any involvement, in 2004 he claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives. After evading capture for almost a decade, bin Laden was located in Pakistan and killed by SEAL Team Six of the U.S. Navy in May 2011.

The destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure seriously harmed the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, which resulted in the closing of Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. Many closings, evacuations, and cancellations followed, out of respect or fear of further attacks. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. On November 18, 2006, construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site. The building was officially opened on November 3, 2014. Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Although not confirmed, there is evidence of alleged Saudi Arabian involvement in the attacks. Given as main evidence in these charges are the contents of the 28 redacted pages of the December 2002 Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 conducted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. These 28 pages contain information regarding the material and financial assistance given to the hijackers and their affiliates leading up to the attacks by the Saudi Arabian government.

Silk Road

The Silk Road was a network of trade routes which connected the East and West, and was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions between these regions from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century. The Silk Road primarily refers to the terrestrial routes connecting East Asia and Southeast Asia with South Asia, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa and Southern Europe.

The Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along its length, beginning in the Han dynasty in China (207 BCE–220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded the Central Asian section of the trade routes around 114 BCE through the missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy Zhang Qian, as well as several military conquests. The Chinese took great interest in the security of their trade products, and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.The Silk Road trade played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, Korea, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Iran, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was the major trade item exported from China, many other goods and ideas were exchanged, including religions (especially Buddhism), syncretic philosophies, sciences, and technologies like paper and gunpowder. So in addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. Diseases, most notably plague, also spread along the Silk Road.In June 2014, UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site. The Indian portion is on the tentative site list.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy, as of 2015.

SAARC was founded in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The organization promotes development of economic and regional integration. It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the United Nations as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the European Union.

Trade union

A trade union (or a labor union in the U.S.) is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organization, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.

Today, unions are usually formed for the purpose of securing improvement in pay, benefits, working conditions, or social and political status through collective bargaining by the increased bargaining power wielded by the banding of the workers. The trade union, through an elected leadership and bargaining committee, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labour contracts (collective bargaining) with employers. The most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing status of employees including promotions, just cause conditions for termination, and employment benefits.

Unions may organize a particular section of skilled workers (craft unionism), a cross-section of workers from various trades (general unionism), or attempt to organize all workers within a particular industry (industrial unionism). The agreements negotiated by a union are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers. Trade unions traditionally have a constitution which details the governance of their bargaining unit and also have governance at various levels of government depending on the industry that binds them legally to their negotiations and functioning.

Originating in Great Britain, trade unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution. Trade unions may be composed of individual workers, professionals, past workers, students, apprentices or the unemployed. Trade union density, or the percentage of workers belonging to a trade union, is highest in the Nordic countries.

Trademark

A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings. It is legally recognized as a type of intellectual property.

The first legislative act concerning trademarks was passed in 1266 under the reign of Henry III, requiring all bakers to use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold. The first modern trademark laws emerged in the late 19th century. In France the first comprehensive trademark system in the world was passed into law in 1857. The Trade Marks Act 1938 of the United Kingdom changed the system, permitting registration based on "intent-to-use”, creating an examination based process, and creating an application publication system. The 1938 Act, which served as a model for similar legislation elsewhere, contained other novel concepts such as "associated trademarks", a consent to use system, a defensive mark system, and non claiming right system.

The symbols ™ (the trademark symbol) and ® (the registered trademark symbol) can be used to indicate trademarks; the latter is only for use by the owner of a trademark that has been registered.

World Trade Center (1973–2001)

The original World Trade Center was a large complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. It opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers — the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m)—were the tallest buildings in the world. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center (3 WTC), 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. The complex was located in New York City's Financial District and contained 13,400,000 square feet (1,240,000 m2) of office space.

The core of the complex was built between 1975 and 1985, at a cost of $400 million (equivalent to $2.27 billion in 2018). During its existence, the World Trade Center experienced several major incidents, including a fire on February 13, 1975, a bombing on February 26, 1993, and a bank robbery on January 14, 1998. In 1998, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey decided to privatize it by leasing the buildings to a private company to manage. It awarded the lease to Silverstein Properties in July 2001.On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda-affiliated hijackers flew two Boeing 767 jets into the North and South Towers within minutes of each other; two hours later, both towers collapsed. The attacks killed 2,606 people in and within the vicinity of the towers, as well as all 157 on board the two aircraft. Falling debris from the towers, combined with fires that the debris initiated in several surrounding buildings, led to the partial or complete collapse of all the buildings in the complex, and caused catastrophic damage to ten other large structures in the surrounding area.

The cleanup and recovery process at the World Trade Center site took eight months, during which the remains of the other buildings were demolished. A new World Trade Center complex is being built with six new skyscrapers; some are already completed. A memorial and museum to those killed in the attacks, a new rapid transit hub, and an elevated park have been opened. One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet (541 m), is the lead building for the new complex, and was completed in November 2014.

During its existence, the World Trade Center was one of the major icons of New York City. It had a major role in popular culture and according to one estimate was depicted in 472 films. Following the World Trade Center's destruction, mentions of the complex were altered or deleted, and several dozen "memorial films" were created.

World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants' adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. The WTO prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security, and other important goals. Trade-related disputes are resolved by independent judges at the WTO through a dispute resolution process.The WTO's current Director-General is Roberto Azevêdo, who leads a staff of over 600 people in Geneva, Switzerland. A trade facilitation agreement, part of the Bali Package of decisions, was agreed by all members on 7 December 2013, the first comprehensive agreement in the organization's history. On 23 January 2017, the amendment to the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement marks the first time since the organization opened in 1995 that WTO accords have been amended, and this change should secure for developing countries a legal pathway to access affordable remedies under WTO rules.Studies show that the WTO boosted trade, and that barriers to trade would be higher in the absence of the WTO. The WTO has highly influenced the text of trade agreements, as "nearly all recent [preferential trade agreements (PTAs)] reference the WTO explicitly, often dozens of times across multiple chapters... in many of these same PTAs we find that substantial portions of treaty language—sometime the majority of a chapter—is copied verbatim from a WTO agreement."

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