Net exports (also known as balance of trade or commercial balance), are one of the components of the gross domestic product. Net exports of a country are the difference between that country’s exports and imports of goods and services. Exports are defined as the merchandise produced domestically and sold in the rest of the world, whereas imports is merchandise produced overseas and sold domestically:
Net exports = exports – imports
An equivalent denomination for net exports is the trade balance, a term that allows us to determine situations of surplus, deficit or equilibrium in a country’s relations with the rest of the world. When exports are greater than imports, there is an excess of exports and we talk about a trade surplus. In contrast, when imports are greater than exports, the country is said to run a trade deficit. In the case that the country’s exports and imports are identical, net exports are zero, and the country has a balanced trade.
Some of the factors that influence the trade balance are: the tastes and incomes of domestic and foreign consumers, the prices of the products in the country and abroad, the exchange rates, the associated costs to trade (e.g. transport costs), government policies, or international agreements.