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The meaning and origin of the expression: The Balance of trade

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The balance of trade

Meaning

The difference between the value of the imports and exports that a nation makes.

Origin

Sir Josiah ChildThis expression is of uncertain origin and dates back to at least the 17th century. From Sir Josiah Child's A New Discourse on Trade, published 1668:

"The Ballance of Trade is to be taken by a strict scrutiny of what proportion the value of the Commodities exported out of this Kingdom bear, to those imported."

Given that this is a definition of the term and is the earliest known reference, it is quite likely that Child coined it himself.