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Import

A good produced in a country other than the one in which it is sold. Imports bring money into the producing country and can remove money from the country in which the good is sold. For that reason, many economists believe that a nation's proper balance of trade means more exports are sold than imports bought. Some countries set up various trade barriers against imports, notably import quotas and tariffs. Most governments seek to promote exports, while they have differing positions on imports. See also: Free trade, NAFTA.

import

A good or service brought into a country from another country and offered for sale. While some imported items originate in foreign subsidiaries of domestic companies, large increases in imports tend to hurt sales and profits of many firms located in the importing country. Compare export. See also balance of trade, quota.

import

  1. a good which is produced in a foreign country and which is then physically transported to and sold in the home market, leading to an outflow of foreign exchange from the home country (visible import).
  2. a service which is provided for the home country by foreign interests, either in the home country (banking, insurance) or overseas (for example, travel abroad), again leading to an outflow of foreign exchange from the home country (invisible import).
  3. capital which is invested in the home country in the form of portfolio investment, foreign direct investment in physical assets and banking deposits (capital imports).

    Together these items comprise, along with EXPORTS, a country's BALANCE OF PAYMENTS. See INTERNATIONAL TRADE, IMPORT DUTY, IMPORTING, IMPORT PENETRATION.

Importclick for a larger image
Fig. 84 Import. (a) UK goods and services imports, 2003.

(b) Geographical distribution of UK goods/services imports, 2003. Source: UK Balance of Payments, ONS, 2004 domestic industries from foreign competition. See TARIFF, IMPORT RESTRICTIONS, PROTECTIONISM.

import

(i) a good that is produced in a foreign country and that is then physically transported to, and sold in, the ‘home’ market, leading to an outflow of foreign exchange from the home country (‘visible’ import). (ii) a service that is provided for the ‘home’ country by foreign interests, either in the home country (banking, insurance) or overseas (for example, travel abroad), again leading to an outflow of foreign exchange from the home country (‘invisible’ import). (iii) capital that is invested in the home country in the form of portfolio investment, foreign direct investment in physical assets and banking deposits (capital imports). Imports are important in two main respects:
  1. together with EXPORTS, they make up a country's BALANCE OF TRADE. Imports must be financed (‘paid for’ in foreign currency terms) by an equivalent value of exports in order to maintain a payments equilibrium.

    The combined net payment figures (exports minus imports) for (i), (ii) and (iii) are shown in Fig. 13 (a), BALANCE OF PAYMENTS entry;

  2. they represent a WITHDRAWAL from the CIRCULAR FLOW OF NATIONAL INCOME, serving to reduce real income and output. (See PROPENSITY TO IMPORT.)

On the one hand, imports are seen as beneficial in that they allow a country to enjoy the benefits of INTERNATIONAL TRADE (obtaining goods and services at lower prices), but on the other hand, as indicated by (b) above, detrimental because they reduce income and output. It is important to maintain a balance between imports and exports. Imports are beneficial, provided that they are matched by exports - i.e. ‘lost’ income on imports is restored by income ‘gained’ on exports to maintain domestic income and output levels, and, as indicated by (a) above, imports are financed by exports to preserve a BALANCE OF PAYMENTS EQUILIBRIUM.

Fig. 84 gives details of the product composition and geographical distribution of UK (merchandise) goods imports in 2003. See Fig. 68 , EXPORT entry, for comparable export data. See BALANCE OF PAYMENTS, INTERNAL-EXTERNAL BALANCE MODEL, GAINS FROM TRADE, IMPORT PENETRATION, IMPORT RESTRICTIONS, IMPORT SCHEDULE, IMPORT SUBSTITUTION, PARALLEL IMPORT.

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