What It Is:
Commerce is the exchange of goods, services or commodities on a large scale.
How It Works/Example:
Nearly every business transaction is a form of commerce: purchasing food at a restaurant, buying stocks on the stock market, selling goods in a store, drilling for oil, etc.
The financial industry often breaks down commerce into more specific categories. For example, international commerce takes place between countries, interstate commerce is done across state lines, and electric commerce (e-commerce) takes place via the Internet.
Why It Matters:
Commerce is the fundamental action that takes place in every transaction involving money and/or trade. It is the basic component of the business and financial world.
In most countries, commerce is regulated; the extent of the regulation is a reflection of monetary policy, fiscal policy and political conditions. In the U.S., the Department of Commerce has a broad mandate to advance economic growth and job opportunities for Americans. It has a broad range of responsibilities, a very small sample of which includes gathering and releasing data on GDP, performing the decennial census, and running the Patent and Trademark Office.