Free Business Glossary Of International Commerce Terms

Welcome to your online Business Glossary that can help you quickly learn the meaning for some of the words and phrases most frequently used in international trade and commerce.  The business glossary words are arranged in alphabetic order so you may easily locate them by simply clicking on the first letter 'links' located at the top and bottom of the two column glossary.

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Term Definition
Macroeconomics The study of large scale economic factors affecting an economy as a whole.
Mail Entry A means of shipping and entering goods into a Customs Territory through the postal system.
Mala Fides In bad faith. (A seller's representation that goods are usable for a particular purpose when in fact the seller knows that the goods are not.)
Manifest 1. A document listing and describing the cargo contents of a carrier, container or warehouse.

2. Evident to the senses, especially to the sight, obvious to the understanding, evident to the mind, open, clear, visible, unmistakable, indubitable, indisputable, self-evident.
Manufacturer's Identification Number (MID) (USA) An identification number used by U. S. Customs in its electronic data processing system for each manufacturer whose goods are shipped to the United States.
Maquiladora A Mexican factory, usually located in a zone close to the US border, which has special privileges from the Mexican government to produce goods for the US market. Much of the work performed in these factories is the assembly of imported components.
Margin 1. In commercial terms the difference between the cost of goods sold and the total net sales price.

2. The purchase of a stock or a commodity with payment of only part of the purchase price in cash (called the margin) and the balance by loan (usually made by the broker.)
Marginal Cost The increase in the total costs of a producer of producing one more unit of output, or the decrease in producing one less unit of output.
Maritime Business pertaining to commerce or navigation by sea.
Market Access The openness of a national market to foreign products and services.
Market Disruption A situation where a surge of imports of a certain product causes a sharp decline in the domestic sales of that product and creates a hardship for domestic producers.
Market Economy An economic system where resources are allocated and production of goods determined by market forces rather than by government decree.
Market Price The price established in the market where buyers and sellers compete with each other to negotiate the best prices and terms.
Marking: Country of Origin The physical markings on a product that indicate the country of origin where the article was produced. (With very few exceptions, the U.S. requires every imported article to be so marked.)
Marks Identification placed on the outer surface of shipping containers or packages. At one time it consisted of pictures, letters and numbers. With the advent of computers, pictures are no longer used. Instructions on the packages for their proper handling, such as "This side up" may also be considered part of the marks. Also the weight and measurements of the packages.
Matador Bond Bond issued on the Spanish market by an obligor who is not domiciled in Spain.
Mate's Receipt A declaration issued by an officer of a vessel stating that certain goods have been received on board his vessel.
Material Contract Terms Terms in a purchase/sale contract that are considered essential; they describe the goods, fix the price, fix the quantity, and set the delivery date.
Measurement Cargo A cargo on which the transportation charge is assessed on the basis of size or dimensions, instead of upon the gross weight.
Medium of Exchange Anything which is widely accepted in payment for goods and services and in settlement of debts. Its acceptability is based upon the fact that it can provide a common basis of measurement of the value of things.
Memorandum Bill of Lading Sometimes the duplicate (non-original) copies of bills of lading are marked "Memorandum" and are intended for informational purposes only.
Memorandum of Understanding An informal record, document, or instrument that serves as the basis of a future contract.
Merchant's Credit A form of commercial letter of credit which the buyer, with no commitment on the part of a bank, sends to the seller via a bank in the district of the buyer. The seller presents his bill of sale and evidence of shipment in order to obtain payment from the buyer.
Microbridge An intermodal movement of cargo which involves a vessel leg to a port and then a movement via another transportation mode, truck or rail, to an inland point where the movement terminates. In the reverse direction, the cargo is picked up at a point inland for transport via truck or rail to a port where a vessel loads the cargo and transports it to an overseas port. The land portion of the two intermodal moves described is the "microbridge".
Minibridge An intermodal movement of cargo involving a vessel leg from one country to a port in another country, and then a movement via truck or rail to another port in that country, and there the voyage is terminated. The traversing of the land in the second country from discharge port to destination port is the "minibridge" portion of the movement. There could be a similar but opposite combined "minibridge" movement in the other direction.
Minimum Charge The lowest amount that will be charged regardless of the amount of service rendered.
MOD Act (USA) Customs Modernization and Informed Compliance Act: Passage 1992, HR 3935.
Money Any denomination of coin or paper currency of legal tender that passes freely as a medium of exchange.
Money Creation The increase in money supply by the central or commercial banks.
Money Market The market for short term financial instruments (i.e. commercial paper, treasury bills, discount notes).
Money Market Operations Creating, investing in, buying and selling short term obligations in the market for short term debt instruments.
Money Supply The amount of cash and bank deposits available in an economy.
Moor To secure a vessel to an anchor, buoy, or pier.
Moorage Charges assessed for mooring a vessel to a pier or wharf.
Most Favored Nation A trade policy commitment on the part of one nation to extend to another nation tariff rates as low as applies to any other "most favored nations," and to treat imports from that nation without discrimination.
Motor Carrier's Terminal The place where a motor carrier receives freight, delivers freight to other motor carriers, temporarily stores freight, loads trucks and containers, and generally does all the things which a carrier has to do regarding freight handling and servicing of its trucks and equipment.
Multilateral Agreement An agreement among more than two persons, firms, or governments.
Multimodal Transport Transportation which includes at least two modes of transport, such as shipping by rail and by sea.
Multinational Corporation A corporation having subsidiaries in more than one country.
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement.
National Association Of Export Companies A nonprofit organization to act as the information provider, support clearinghouse forum, and advocate for those involved in exporting and servicing exporters.
National Customs Brokers And Freight Forwarders Association (USA) A non-profit organization which serves as the trade organization of customs brokers and international freight forwarders in the U.S.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB) (USA) An electronic data base which contains international economic and export promotion information supplied by 15 U.S. governmental agencies.
National Treatment National treatment affords foreign individuals and firms the same competitive opportunities, including market access, as are available to domestic parties.
Nationalization Takeover by a government of a public or private activity.
Negotiable Legally capable of being transferred by endorsement or delivery.
Negotiable Bill of Lading A bill of lading transferable by endorsement by virtue of its terms which make the goods which it covers deliverable to "bearer", or to the order of a named party, or to the assigns.
Nested Packed one within another; for example the way paper cups are stacked as a way of saving space.
Net Cash Payment for goods sold without any deduction allowed from the price.
Net National Product The total amount of goods and services produced in a nation in a given period of time less the quantity of goods and services needed for its production.
Net Price Price after all deductions, discounts, rebates, etc have been taken.
Net Weight The weight of goods without packaging. The weight of the contents of a package.
No Show Freight that has been booked for shipment on a carrier, but has not physically arrived in time to be loaded before departure of the carrier. This term is also applied to passengers who do not arrive for a departure
Notary Public A person commissioned by a state for a stipulated period to administer certain oaths and to attest and certify documents. In some countries, the authority of a notary public is much more extensive.
Notify Address Address of the party mentioned in the transport document to which the carrier is to give notice about the arrival of the shipment.
Notify Party Name and address of a party indicated in the transport document to be notified by the shipping company of the arrival of a shipment.
NTDB (USA) National Trade Data Bank: A data base used as the central collection point for US government generated export promotion information.
Ocean Bill of Lading A receipt for the cargo and a contract for transportation issued by an ocean carrier. When issued in negotiable form, it is also an instrument of title.
Offer 1. A proposal that is made to a certain individual or legal entity to enter into a contract, that is definite in its terms, and that indicates the offerer's intent to be bound by an acceptance.

2. With respect to securities, the price at which one is ready to sell.
Office Of Export Licensing (OEL) An agency under the Bureau of Industry and Security that administers export licenses.
Office Of Management And Budget An executive office of the President which evaluates, formulates and coordinates management procedures and program objectives within and among federal departments an agencies. It also controls the administration of the federal budget.
Offer 1. A proposal that is made to a certain individual or legal entity to enter into a contract, that is definite in its terms, and that indicates the offerer's intent to be bound by an acceptance.

2. With respect to securities, the price at which one is ready to sell.
Official Development Assistance Official Development Assistance Financial flows to developing countries and multilateral institutions provided by official government agencies.
Offshore Bank A bank located in a country other than the bank which owns it. The owning bank is usually in a major country and the "offshore bank" in a smaller country.
Offshore Banking Center A financial center where many of the financial institutions have little connection with that country's financial system, but have located themselves there to benefit from less regulation and/or lower taxes.
Old-To-Market (USA) This is a term used by the International Trade Administration to define larger scale firms who are committed and experienced in export trade and have export sales often in excess of 15% .
On Board Notation on a bill of lading indicating that the goods have been loaded on board a named ship.
On Deck Bill Of Lading An ocean bill of lading containing the notation that the goods have been loaded on the deck of the vessel.
Open Account Credit extended that is not supported by a note, mortgage, or other formal written evidence of indebtedness.
Open Conference A shipping conference in which there are no restrictions upon membership other than ability and willingness to serve the trade and abide by the rules of the conference.
Open Economy An economy free of trade restrictions.
Open-End Contract An agreement by which the buyer may purchase an unspecified amount of goods from a seller over a certain period of time without changes in the price or the contract terms.
Operator of Foreign Trade Zone (USA) A corporation that operates a foreign trade zone under the terms of an agreement with a foreign trade zone grantee.
Order 1. A request to deliver, sell, receive or purchase goods or services.

2. An instruction, command or direction authoritatively given.

3. A designation of the person to whom a bill of exchange is to be paid, or delivery of goods made, or a bill of lading consigned (A key word which makes a document negotiable.)

4. A rank, class or division of men.
Order Bill A bill of lading that states that goods are consigned "to the order" of the person named, or simply "to order" (of no one in particular.) Such a bill of lading is a negotiable document.
Order Notify A bill of lading which is negotiable because it is consigned to "order" with no entity named; but it does have a named party indicated to whom the carrier is expected to send a notice of arrival.
Outright Free from reserve or restraint; direct; positive; downright; altogether; entirely; openly.
Over the Counter Securities trading which takes place outside the normal Security Exchanges.
Overnight The period in which settlement is required on a transaction such as a currency trade or a swap - on the next business day after the transaction.
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