That brings us to the question of why nations trade. Nations clearly trade a lot, but it is not quite obvious why they do so. Put differently, why do private individuals and firms take the trouble of conducting business with people who live far away, speak different languages, and operate under different legal and economic systems, when they can trade with fellow citizens without having to overcome any of those obstacles?
To answer these questions, it is helpful to think about exports and imports separately.
Next: Why do Nations Export?