Free Business Term Glossary

Welcome to your online Business Term Glossary that can help you quickly locate the meaning for some of the words and phrases most frequently used in international trade and commerce.  Business term 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
Packing List A document listing the merchandise in a particular shipment indicating the kind and quantity in each package.
Pallet A platform with or without sides, on which a number of packages or pieces may be loaded to facilitate handling. Usually the pallet is constructed so that it has space underneath it to permit lifting by mechanical equipment.
Pallet Loader A device employing a vertical lift platform for the mechanical loading or unloading of pallets of freight at plane side.
Pallet Transporter A vehicle for the movement of loaded pallets from one place to another.
Palletizing The loading and securing of a number of sacks, bags, boxes or drums on a pallet base.
Par Equal. An equality between the face value of a bill of exchange, share of stock etc., and its actual market value. If it can be sold for more, it is "above par;" if for less, it is "below par."
Par Exchange Rate The free market price of one country's money in terms of the currency of another.
Par Of Exchange The precise equivalency of a given sum of money of one country with the like sum of money of another country into which it is to be exchanged.
Par Value 1.The official fixed exchange rate between two currencies or between a currency and a specific weight of gold.

2. "Par Value" of a currency is its official rate of exchange.

3. "Par Value" of a share of stock is the value declared on its face.

4. As to a mortgage or a trust deed, it is the balance owing, without discount.
Parent Bank A bank in one country that has a subsidiary in another country.
Parity 1. Equality in amount or value.

2. Equivalence of prices of goods or services in different markets

3. The relationship between two currencies such that they are exchangeable for each other at par or at the official rate of exchange.

4. Equivalence of prices of farm products (or farm income) to those existing at a former time, or to the general cost of living.
Parol Contract A contract that is oral only as distinguished from one that is written.
Particular Average A partial loss of cargo or hull which falls entirely upon the interest concerned. See also "General Average"
Partnership An unincorporated business owned and operated by two or more persons, who, according to the agreement of the partnership, share the profits and the losses, and the responsibilities, and have general or limited liability. (At least one partner must have unlimited liability)
Patent A grant by law of a privilege, property, or authority, to one or more individuals - including the grant to an inventor of the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention for a term of years.
Payable In Exchange A negotiable instrument conspicuously marked on its face "Exchange" and naming a payee, is considered to be negotiable and payable to the order or assigns of the designated payee.
Payee 1. The person or organization to whose order a check or draft or note is made payable.

2. One to whom money is paid or is to be paid.
Payer (Or Payor.) One who pays or is to pay, particularly the person who is to make payment of a check, bill, note, or account.
Penalties 1. Punishment, corporeal or pecuniary, or civil or criminal, although its meaning is generally confined to pecuniary punishment for doing an act that is prohibited or failing to do one which is required.

2. The sum of money which the obligor of a bond undertakes to pay in the event of his failure to perform his obligations under the conditions of the bond.
Performance The proper fulfillment of a contract or obligation according to its terms.
Peril Point An estimated limit beyond which a reduction in tariff protection would cause material injury to a domestic industry.
Perishable Freight Goods subject to decay or deterioration during shipment.
Petrodollars Hard currency, principally U.S. Dollars, earned by developing nations production and sale of petroleum.
Phytosanitary Inspections A certificate issued by the agency of a national government indicating that an export shipment has been inspected and is free from harmful pests and plant diseases.
Pickup and Delivery Service An optional additional service for the transport of shipments from shipper's door to originating carrier's terminal and from the terminal of destination to receiver's door, offered by some airlines, railroads and sometimes by other shipping modes. With some transportation services such as the postal and small package express services, it is a standard service rather than optional.
Pickup Order An order to a carrier to pick up freight at a location.
Pier-to-Pier Shipment of cargo with carrier responsibility from origin pier to discharge pier.
Piggyback The transportation of truck trailers and containers on specially equipped railroad flat-cars.
Pilferage Taking of property by stealth or clandestine theft, usually in small quantities.
Pilot 1. A person who flies an airplane.

2. A person whose occupation is to guide ships, particularly along a coast, or into and out of a harbor.
Plimsoll Mark The horizontal line on the outside of a ship which represents the depth to which a vessel may be safely loaded.
Point of Origin 1. The location in which a good is manufactured or produced.

2. The location at which a shipment is received by a transportation line from the shipper.
Port 1. A place intended for loading and unloading the cargo or passengers of vessels - it may be within a natural harbor on a coast, or on a river, or within sheltered water produced by artificial jetties.

2. A place where customs officers are stationed for the collection of duties and the control of imports and exports.
Port Charge A charge made for various services performed at ports.
Port of Discharge The port at which a shipment is off loaded by a transportation line.
Port of Entry A place designated by law at which Customs is stationed and carriers from foreign ports, foreign goods and persons are permitted to arrive.
Port of Export A place where Customs is stationed to control departures of carriers, passengers, and goods to foreign countries.
Port-of-Origin Air Cargo Clearance (USA) U.S. Customs clearance at foreign airports to facilitate the procedures before arrival in the U.S.
Portfolio Investment In investment, the collective term for all the securities held by one person or institution.
Post-Shipment Verifications (USA) An inspection or other action to determine that an exported strategic commodity is being used in the places and for the purposes for which its export was licensed.
Postdated Check A check delivered prior to its date, generally payable on or after the day of its date.
Preference 1.A creditor's right to be paid before other creditors of the same debtor.

2. A trade preference is the granting of a preferred status to some or all of the goods of a preferred country, such as lower rates of duty or admissibility of goods in quantities over and above those normally permitted.
Preferential Tariff A tariff which imposes lower rates of duty on goods imported from some countries.
Preferred Country A country which has lower rates of duty imposed on its goods or is given other preferential trade treatment by another country.
Premium 1. A bounty or bonus above a regular price, paid as an incentive to do something.

2. The price of insurance protection for a specified risk for a specified period of time.

Comment: Meaning numbered 1 above indicates that one meaning of "Premium" is: Something in addition to the regular price. In meaning numbered 2 "Premium" is the price itself.

3. A "give-away" - a reward or prize.
Prepaid 1. A notation on a shipping document indicating that shipping charges have already been paid by the shipper to the carrier, or it is an expression of the intention that payment is to be made by the shipper.

2. An expense paid before it is currently due.

3. A service or good paid for before it is delivered.
Prepaid Charges In transportation, this term may mean that all charges, including freight, are to be paid by the shipper. Or, it may mean that only those charges designated as "prepaid" are to be paid by the shipper with other charges to be collected from the receiver. Which charges are which are generally decided by prior agreement.
Price Support Subsidy or financial aid offered to specific growers, producers, or distributors, in accordance with governmental regulations to keep market prices from dropping below a certain minimum level.
Priority Air Freight Reserved air freight or air express service wherein certain shipments by special arrangement, at extra cost, have a priority after mail and the small package services.
Private Corporation A business corporation with shares that are not traded among the general public.
Procurement The act of obtaining; attainment; acquisition; purchasing; buying.
Product Groups Classification of products into groups for various purposes: statistics, export control, import quotas etc.
Productivity A measurement of the efficiency of production.
Proof of Delivery Evidence that one party has turned over something (cargo) to another. Commonly, in transportation, a signed, dated acknowledgement of receipt.
Proprietor A person who has an exclusive right or interest in property or in a business (the owner.)
Proprietorship A business, usually unincorporated, owned and controlled by one person (sole proprietorship.)
Protectionism The deliberate use or encouragement of restrictions on imports to enable relatively inefficient domestic producers to compete successfully with foreign producers, or to protect and preserve those industries and producers considered of critical national interest.
Protective Service Some airlines offer a protective service where shippers can arrange to have their shipments under carrier surveillance at each stage of transit.
Protective Tariff A duty or tax on imported products to make them more expensive in comparison to domestic products.
Protest 1. (USA) The procedural means by which an importer, consignee, or other designated party may challenge a customs decision.

2. An action required to be taken in some countries in order to protect one's rights to seek legal remedies when a collection is dishonored.
Public Corporation 1. A business corporation with shares traded among the general public, such as through a stock exchange.

2. Also, an instrumentality of the state, founded and owned by the public interest, supported by public funds, and governed by those deriving their authority from the state.
Published Rate 1. The freight charges for a particular class and quantity of cargo as published in a carrier's tariff.

2. The service charges of many kinds of public utilities (usually government regulated enterprises) which are published in tariffs for public information.
Purchase Order A purchaser's written offer to a supplier formally stating all terms and conditions of a proposed transaction.
Quantitative Restrictions Explicit limits, or quotas, on the physical amounts of particular commodities that can be imported or exported during a specified time period, usually measured by volume but sometimes by value. The quota may be applied on a selective basis, with varying limits set according to the country of origin or destination, or on a quantitative global basis that only specifies the total limit and thus tends to benefit more efficient suppliers.
Quarantine 1. The term during which an arriving ship or airplane, including its passengers, crew and cargo, suspected of carrying a contagious disease, is held in isolation to prevent the possible spread of the disease.

2. The place in which a person or carrier under quarantine is held.
Quay A structure built for the purpose of mooring a vessel; also called a pier.
Queue A line of people, vehicles etc., especially a waiting line as before a ticket window or a toll booth.
Quid Pro Quo 1. A mutual consideration; securing an advantage or receiving a concession in return for a similar favor.

2. A mutual consideration which passes between the parties to a contract, and which renders it valid and binding.
Quota A limitation on the quantity of goods that may be imported into a country from all countries or from specific countries during a set period of time. Export quotas have similar parameters.
Quota System (USA) A part of the U.S. Customs' Service Automated Commercial System, which controls quota levels (quantities authorized) and quantities entered against those levels.
Rail Waybill A document used to control the transportation of a shipment of goods via rail. It is similar in content to an inland bill of lading, with freight and other charges, and routing.
Rate Of Exchange The price at which the money of one country can be exchanged for the money of another country.
Real Rights Rights in real estate or in items attached to real estate.
Realignment of Currencies Simultaneous and mutually coordinated revaluation and devaluation of the currencies of several countries.
Receipt 1. Any written acknowledgment of value received. It is a mere admission of a fact without containing any affirmative obligation.

2. Receipt of goods means taking possession of goods.
Received For Shipment Bill Of Lading A bill of lading which confirms the receipt of goods by the carrier for transportation on a particular vessel, but not their actual loading on board the vessel nor their actual shipment.
Receiving Papers In transportation, paperwork that accompanies a shipment when it is brought to a carrier.
Reciprocal Trade Agreement An international agreement between two or more countries to establish mutual trade concessions that are expected to be of equal value.
Reciprocity The process by which governments extend similar concessions to each other.
Reconsignment In transportation, a change in the name of the consignee; a change in the place of delivery; or relinquishment of the shipment by the carrier at the point of origin.
Redeliver 1. To yield and deliver back a thing.

2. (USA) In U.S. Customs, it is a demand by customs to return to Custom's custody goods for reexamination, detention, re-export or destruction.
Reefer Container A controlled temperature shipping container (usually refrigerated with a self-contained refrigeration unit).
Reexport The export of imported goods without appreciable added value.
Refund 1. To repay or restore. To return money in restitution or repayment. To return overpaid charges

2. That which is refunded. The amount returned.

3. To fund again or renew; specifically to borrow in order to pay off an existing loan with the proceeds.
Relay In marine transportation, a procedure in which a shipment is shipped to an intermediate port and transferred to another vessel for delivery to the ultimate destination port.
Remittance Funds forwarded from one person to another.
Replevin A legal action for the recovery of property brought by the owner or party entitled to repossess the property against a party who has wrongfully kept it.
Request For Quotation A negotiating approach whereby the buyer asks for a price quotation from a potential seller for specific goods.
Rescind To abrogate, annul, avoid, cancel a contract; declare it void in its inception and put an end to it as though it never were.
Reserved Freight Space A service by some carriers (airlines and ship lines) enabling shippers to reserve freight space on designated voyages.
Restricted Letter of Credit A letter of credit which restricts negotiation to the bank the issuing bank has nominated in the credit.
Restrictive Business Practices Actions in the private sector designed to restrict competition in order to keep prices relatively high.
Retaliation 1. the return of evil for evil.

2. Action taken by a country to restrain its imports from a country that has increased a tariff or imposed other measures that adversely affect its exports.
Revaluation 1. The restoration of the value of a nation's currency that had once been devalued in terms of the currency of another nation.

2. The restoration of purchasing power to an inflated currency.

3. Restoration of the value of a currency

4. Currencies of countries undergoing inflation are more often "devalued," meaning that either by market forces or by declaration of the issuing government, a greater number of units of its currency are required to purchase other currencies. When the reverse occurs, usually in an attempt to restore the purchasing power of an inflated currency, this is called "revaluation."
Reverse Preferences Tariff advantages offered by developing countries to imports from certain developed countries that had granted them trade preferences in the past .(This practice has generally ceased) .
Revolving Letter of Credit A letter of credit which when drawn upon is automatically restored to its full amount, periodically, or after a particular event prescribed in the credit.
Risk Position The condition of an asset or liability which is exposed to fluctuations in value (on the international markets this would include changes in exchange rates or interest rates as well as changes in market value)
Road Waybill Transport document is used to control shipments of goods via truck. It contains the same information as an inland bill of lading, with freight and other charges, and routing.
Roll on, Roll off A category of ships designed to load and discharge cargo which rolls on wheels, and as the name says is driven onto the decks of the vessel and driven off.
Rollover Credit Short term notes or loans which may be extended after the initial due date.
Route 1. A customary or regular line of passage or travel.

2. The course or direction that a particular shipment moves.

3. To direct the routing of a shipment (and whose services shall be employed).
Royalty Compensation for the use of property, usually copyrighted or patented material or natural resources, based on an agreed percentage of the income arising from its use or an amount per unit produced.
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