Free Business Terms Dictionary Of Words And Phrases Commonly Used In International Commerce

Welcome to the online Business Terms Dictionary that will help you quickly learn the meaning for the most commonly used words and phrases in international commerce.  The words/phrases in this Business Terms Dictionary 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 columns.

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Term Definition
Hallmark 1. Originally an impression made on gold and silverware introduced in the beginning of the fourteenth century in England to identify the quality of the metal used. Later, a mark to identify the maker and year of production.

2. Figuratively, a distinguishing characteristic.
Harbor Fees Charges assessed to users for use of a harbor, used generally for maintenance of the harbor.
Harbor Master An officer who is commander of harbor activities and directs the berthing, etc. of ships in a harbor.
Hard Loan A foreign loan that must be paid in hard money.
Hard Money Currency of a nation having stability in the country and a reputation abroad for economic strength, and as a result it has wide and ready acceptability on world markets.
Harmonized System (HS) A multipurpose international goods classification system designed to be used by manufacturers, transporters, exporters, importers, customs, statisticians, and others in classifying under a single commodity code goods moving in international trade.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) (USA) An organized listing of goods and their duty rates which is used as the basis for classifying imported products and identifying the rates of duty to be charged on them. It is based on the international Harmonized System Convention.
Harter Act (USA) An 1893 Federal Statute regarding ocean bills of lading and limitation of some carrier liabilities. It has been substantially superseded by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936 and others.
Hatch The opening in the deck of a vessel which gives access to a cargo hold.
Haulage 1. The local transport of goods.

2. Also the charge(s) made for hauling freight on carts, drays or trucks.

3. Also called cartage or drayage.
Hazardous Materials A substance or material which has been determined to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce.
Heavy Lift Any article deemed by rules in a vessel's tariff to be beyond a certain weight. It may be too heavy for the ship's tackle and require special equipment such as a floating crane.
Heavy Lift Charge In a maritime tariff, a charge made for lifting heavy articles to load or unload them.
Heavy Lift Vessel A vessel with heavy lift cranes and other equipment designed to be self-sustaining in the handling of heavy cargo.
Hedge To reduce one's risk of loss by compensating transactions on the other side. For example, buy goods for future delivery priced in a foreign currency. Hedge by buying the foreign exchange needed at the rate then in effect. Or, another way of hedging is to buy a forward exchange contract. In both cases the buyer will have a known cost in its own currency. This is a hedge against the risk of foreign exchange fluctuation; it is not a hedge against a change in the price of the goods.
Hedge Ratio The amount of future exchange contracts, options, or underlying financial instruments, purchased or sold against a position to accomplish a hedge of the position.
High Density High density cargo is cargo whose weight is high compared to its volume. A vessel tariff in which freight is charged according to weight or volume, whichever yields the highest freight charge, will result in high density freight being charged on a weight basis.
Hitchment In maritime situations, if the tariff of the steamship company provides for it, portions of a shipment originating in different places may be joined together under one bill of lading from one shipper to one consignee at one destination.
Hold 1. The interior of a vessel below deck where cargo is carried.

2. to delay; to pause (verb); a delay; a pause (noun).

3. A verb with multiple other meanings than those noted above such as: to retain, to contain, to maintain, to bind, to bear, to own.
Hold For Pickup Freight to be held at the carrier's destination location for pickup by the recipient.
Hold Harmless Contract An agreement by which one party accepts responsibility for all damages and other liability that arise from a transaction, relieving the other party of any such liability.
Honor To accept a bill of exchange; or to pay a note, check or draft at maturity.
Horizontal Export Trading Company An export trading company which exports a range of similar or identical products supplied by a number of manufacturers who may be competitors on the domestic market.
House Air Waybill 1. A bill of lading issued by a freight forwarder for consolidated air freight shipments.

2. An airway bill issued by an airfreight forwarder by which the forwarder assumes the risk and obligations of being "the carrier."
House-To-House A shipping term indicating that a container will be offered by the carrier for use by the shipper and the receiver for the transport of the contents from the domicile of one to the domicile of the other, but the carrier only contracts to transport the loaded container from terminal at origin to terminal at destination. (usually called C/Y to C/Y - container yard to container yard.)
Hub And Spoke Routing Air cargo routing pattern that feeds traffic from many places to a central airport where it is sorted and rerouted on other aircraft to final destinations.
Hull The outer shell of a vessel.
Hump An essential feature of a railcar sorting yard . The "hump" is that part of the track which is elevated so that when a car is pushed up on it and uncoupled, it runs down the other side by gravity and is switched onto the siding where a train is being made up for the desired destination.
Hundredweight Pricing In transportation, special pricing for multiple-piece shipments (weighing over 100 pounds in total) traveling to one destination, which are rated on the total weight of the shipment as opposed to rating on a per package basis.
International Business The term international business is used to describe topics related to the operations of companies that either purchase from or sell into or have branch offices in one or more countries other than their base of operations.
Irrevocable Corporate Purchase Order A purchase order completed by a buyer on corporate letter head indicating type and quantity of products being ordered from a supplier.
Identical Merchandise (USA) For U.S. Customs purposes of appraisement, identical merchandise means merchandise identical in all respect to and produced in the same country and by the same person as, the merchandise being appraised.
Immediate Delivery(ID) (USA) In certain circumstances, merchandise may be released by U. S. Customs under a special permit for immediate delivery with entry summary (details) and duty to be submitted subsequently. It is a procedure principally utilized along the land borders.
Immediate Transportation Entry (USA) A form of U.S. Customs entry which allows imported merchandise to be transported under bond to another port for customs clearance thereat.
Immigration The entry of foreign nationals into a country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence.
Implied Conditions Certain implied conditions are not written into marine insurance policies, but they are so basic to the understanding between the underwriter and the assured that the law gives them much the same effect as if written. (In many other types of contracts there also may be "implied conditions," for example a seller of goods implies that they are fit for the purpose they purport to serve.)
Import The act of bringing or causing any goods to be brought into a customs territory.
Import Credit A commercial letter of credit issued for the purpose of financing the importation of goods.
Import Duty Customs duty which is collected on in connection with the importation of goods.
Import License An import license (or import permit) is an authorization by a competent authority for the importation of goods which are subject to restriction.
Import Quota A protective device establishing limits on the quantity of a particular product that may be imported into a country.
Import Quota Auctioning The process of auctioning the right to import specified quantities of quota-restricted goods.
Import Relief Any of several measures imposed by a government to temporally restrict imports of a product or commodity to protect domestic producers from competition. Or, any of several measures to strengthen domestic producers such as subsidies, educational assistance to workers, training assistance to workers, low interest loans to producers, tax relief to producers etc.
Import Restrictions Any one of a series of tariff and non-tariff barriers imposed by an importing nation to control the volume of goods coming into the country from other countries.
Import Sensitive Producers Domestic producers whose economic viability is threatened by competition (quality, price or service) from imported products.
Import Substitution A national economic strategy to build up a domestic economy by emphasizing the replacement of imports by domestically produced goods.
Importer The individual, firm or legal entity that brings goods, or causes goods to be brought from a foreign country into a customs territory.
Importer Number (USA) An identification number assigned by the U.S. Customs Service to each importer to track entries and other transactions. In most cases the Taxpayer's Identification Number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service is the number also used by Customs.
Imports Goods brought into a customs territory.
Imports For Consumption The total of merchandise that has physically cleared through the customs of a country either entering domestic consumption channels immediately or entering after withdrawal for consumption from bonded warehouses or from foreign trade zones.
Impost 1. A tax, especially an import duty.

2. To classify an impost in order to fix the duty. (rarely used). (Note: an imposter is one who imposts. Another definition of an imposter is a "pretender" but that is not the meaning intended here.).)
Impound To seize or hold; or to place in custody by order of a court.
In Bond (USA) A procedure under which goods are transported, stored, or handled, prior to clearance and release by customs, and the government's interest is secured by indemnity bonds.
In Bond Shipment An import or export shipment which has not been cleared by Customs and is transported, stored, or handled with security to the government provided by indemnity bonds.
In-Bond System (USA) A part of U.S. Customs' Automated Commercial System, controls merchandise from the point of unloading at the place of arrival, while handled or transported further in bond, until customs cleared.
Incentive A motivational force that stimulates people to greater activity or increased efficiency.
Income Money or its equivalent, earned or accrued, arising from the sale of goods or services.
Incoterms An abbreviation of "International Commercial Terms" published by the International Chamber of Commerce. It is a set of rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms in foreign trade which parties to a contract can agree upon to avoid misunderstandings, disputes and litigation.
Indemnify 1. To compensate for actual loss sustained.

2. To give security for the reimbursement of a person in case of an anticipated loss falling upon him.
Indemnity 1. A compensation to make a person whole from a loss already sustained.

2. A contract or assurance by which one engages to secure another against an anticipated loss.
Independent Action The right of a conference member to depart from the common freight rates, terms or conditions of the conference without the need for prior approval of the conference.
Indexed In finance this term means "measured by" and/or "adjusted according to," thus an interest rate on a note may be, by agreement, "indexed" i.e. adjusted according to the market at time the interest is due. Or a note denominated in a foreign currency may have its exchange rate "indexed," adjusted according to the market rate in effect at the time of payment.
Indexed Currency Borrowings Borrowings in a foreign currency where the rate of interest is linked to an agreed scale, and/or the rate of exchange at repayment is linked to an agreed scale.
Indexed Currency Option Note Note denominated and paying interest in one currency but whose redemption value is linked to an exchange rate for another currency.
Industrial List (USA) The Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls industrial list contains dual-use items (usable for military or nuclear purposes in addition to normal commercial uses) and as a result whose export is controlled for strategic reasons.
Industrial Policy Encompasses traditional activist governmental policies intended to provide a favorable economic climate for the development of industry in general or specific industrial sectors.
Infant Industry Argument The view that "temporary protection" for a new industry or firm in a particular country through tariff and non-tariff barriers to imports can help it to become established and eventually competitive in world markets, in which case the protective measures will no longer be needed.
Inflation Loss of purchasing power of money caused by growth of the amount of money in circulation and reflected in a rise in prices without a proportionate increase in value of the things purchased..
Informal Entry (USA) A simplified import entry procedure accepted at the option of Customs for any baggage or commercial shipment that does not exceed a specified value.
Informed Compliance (USA) A term that describes the improved ability of a entity to comply with Federal rules and regulations through easy access to up-to-date information.
Infrastructure The institutions and fundamental organizations which support the basic structure of a nation's economy, among these are: the educational system, the transportation systems, the banking system, the public utilities, the water supply system, the sanitation system, the health maintenance network, the public security and safety systems, the communication systems, the postal system etc.
Inherent Vice The inherent physical properties of goods which may cause them to suffer deterioration or damage without outside influence. (For example: spontaneous combustion, rust etc.)
Injury 1. (USA) A finding by the U.S. International Trade Commission that an import is causing harm (material injury) or threatening to cause harm (material injury) to a U.S. industry...(If caused by sales to the U.S. at "less than fair value", it may be considered "dumping" and trigger "antidumping duties", or if it is caused by foreign subsidies or bounties, it may trigger "countervailing duties").

2. A wrong or damage done to another, either in his person, rights, reputation, or property.

3. The invasion of any legally protected interest of another.
Inland Bill of Lading A bill of lading used in transporting goods overland.
Inland Carrier A transportation line which hauls cargo inland: truck, rail, barge, inland waterways, or domestic airline flights.
Inspection Certificate A document describing the condition of goods and confirming that they have been inspected.
Instrument Any written document that gives formal expression to a legal agreement or act.
Integrated Cargo Service A blend of all segments of the cargo system providing the combined services of carrier, forwarder, handlers, and agents, utilizing all forms of transport.
Integrated Carriers Carriers that have multiple varieties of fleets (i.e. air and ground, truck and rail, etc.).
Intellectual Property Non-tangible property that is the result of creativity such as copyrights and patents.
Interbank Dealings Dealings between banks.
Interchange Agreement An agreement that specifically lays out the terms of leasing or temporarily borrowing equipment from a carrier. A frequent use of an interchange agreement is between an ocean carrier and a trucking company when the trucking company takes a container from the pier for delivery to the consignee.
Interchange Point A location where one carrier delivers freight to another carrier.
Interline Shipping The movement of a single shipment on two or more carriers.
Intermodal Compatibility The physical capability of a shipment of goods to be transported from one form of transportation to another.
Intermodal Transport Coordinated transport of freight using multiple methods of transportation.
International Trade The business of buying and selling commodities beyond national borders.
International Trade Data System A proposed electronic system that would integrate the different government trade and transportation data processes into a system that provides a standard means of gathering, processing, storing and disseminating import and export trade data. See IT06.
Interstate Carrier (USA) A common carrier whose business extends beyond the boundaries of one state.
Interstate Commerce (USA) Trade, transport, and communication between or among the several states of the United States.
Invisible Barriers to Trade Government regulations (national and local), and cultural conditions that do not directly restrict trade but hinder it with excessive and obscure requirements.
Invisible Trade Balance The balance of trade reflecting the import and export of services.
Invoice A written account or itemized statement, usually on a printed form with the name and address of the seller, listing merchandise sold or shipped to a purchaser, consignee, factor etc., showing their name and address, and containing a description of the merchandise, the quantity, values or prices and charges, and other significant details of the transaction such as the terms of sale and the currency of the purchase.
Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) (USA) A U.S. Customs mandated document requiring the complete listing by bill of lading number or airway bill numbers of an arriving carrier's cargo. It should give the commercial particulars of the goods including: consignors, consignees, marks and numbers, number and kind of packages, their weights or measures, descriptions and quantities of the goods, their port of loading and intended port of discharge.
Irrevocable Letter of Credit A letter of credit which cannot be amended or canceled without prior mutual consent of all parties to the credit.
Issuance 1. The execution, validation, and tender of delivery of a contract or financial instrument to the appropriate party.

2. The act of sending forth, promulgating, or the giving of a thing its first inception. The first delivery of an instrument to a holder or remitter.
Issuance Date of the Documents The date indicated on documents as their date of preparation, subject to correction when necessary as noted above under the term "issuance" and under the definition of "Date of Issue" elsewhere in this glossary.
IT06 An initiative calling for the development of an international trade data system sponsored by the US Government that will meet the needs of Federal agencies involved in international trade as well as the trade information needs of businesses and the general public.
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