"Trade is good because when two people have an exchange and both feel they are better off due to the transaction, it is good."
- The Buddha
Trade in this world begun with the exchange of goods between people which is popularly known as “Barter System”. We all know in 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed on the west coast of India. He paved the way for trade between Europe and maritime Asia. It is a period of commercial, cultural and technological change. When the Portuguese explored Asia, here they found luxurious goods throughout Asia. During the period 1500-1800, Asian commodities such as spices, tea, silk, cotton, porcelains, and other goods travelled to the west. At that time these imports were paid with silver. The Portuguese established a settlement at Macao in 1557 and used the port as a base for trade and communication with China. The great port of London acted as the head quarters of East India Company which was established in 1600. From 1648 Amsterdam became one of European’s trade centre. Lisbon became the pre-eminent city in Europe for Asian spices and luxury goods. Surat was the principal port in western India and a major centre for the export of Gujarati textiles and luxury goods. Cochin, and Calicut were the principal centres on the Malabar Coast for the trading of pepper. After 1639, the Dutch were the only Europeans allowed to trade in Japan. The Portuguese established a settlement at Macao in 1557 and used the port as a base for trade and communication with China. By the late 18th century European positions in Asia evaporated. During 19th century Asian traders followed silver standards while Europeans followed gold standard. Only in southern gold was the main currency in use. As the European trading companies reached the Far East, they found a currency system almost entirely based on silver. Overall, trade grew markedly in the late 19th century, both to overseas destinations and within Asia. In 1852, following the depreciation of gold vis-à-vis silver, gold was effectively taken out of circulation by the East India company.Asian ‘silver standard’ used mainly two currencies – the Indian silver rupee (in use in India, Ceylon, the Maldives, and some British colonies in East Africa), and the Mexican silver dollar (circulating widely in the Far East, especially in areas trading extensively with China). Later on, there are number of factors which led to the switch from silver to gold in Asia. First, fluctuation of price was comparatively low. Second, it promoted trade. Third, it reduced exchange rate risk. By 1914, almost 90% of world trade took place between countries on the gold standard. Trade restrictions declined in all regions from 1990 until midway through the first decade of the 21st century. Stock exchange trading hours are a hot topic right now in Asia.
Wishing Asian trade to flow quietly and hopefully.