The balance of trade
What's the meaning of the phrase 'The Balance of trade'?
The difference between the value of the imports and exports that a nation makes.
What's the origin of the phrase 'The Balance of trade'?
This 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.