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Balance of trade

Balance of trade is the difference between the monetary value of exports and imports of a nation's exports and imports over a certain time period. The trade balance can be positive and negative.

If a country’s imports exceed exports, it has a trade deficit or negative trade balance. That is, a country imports (or buys) more goods and services from other countries than it exports (or sells) internationally. Such countries are import-driven.

Conversely, if a nation exports more goods and services than it imports, a nation has a balance of trade surplus or positive trade balance. Such countries are export-driven.

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