What is International Trade?
A definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP). While international trade has been present throughout much of history (see Silk Road, Amber Road), its economic, social, and political importance has been on the rise in recent centuries.
Industrialization, advanced transportation, globalization, multinational corporations, and outsourcing are all having a major impact on the international trade system. Increasing international trade is crucial to the continuance of globalization. Without international trade, nations would be limited to the goods and services produced within their own borders.
International trade is, in principle, not different from domestic trade as the motivation and the behavior of parties involved in a trade do not change fundamentally regardless of whether trade is across a border or not. The main difference is that international trade is typically more costly than domestic trade. The reason is that a border typically imposes additional costs such as tariffs, time costs due to border delays and costs associated with country differences such as language, the legal system or culture.
Another difference between domestic and international trade is that factors of production such as capital and labor are typically more mobile within a country than across countries. Thus international trade is mostly restricted to trade in goods and services, and only to a lesser extent to trade in capital, labor or other factors of production. Trade in goods and services can serve as a substitute for trade in factors of production.
Instead of importing a factor of production, a country can import goods that make intensive use of that factor of production and thus embody it. An example is the import of labor-intensive goods by the United States from China. Instead of importing Chinese labor, the United States imports goods that were produced with Chinese labor. One report in 2010 suggested that international trade was increased when a country hosted a network of immigrants, but the trade effect was weakened when the immigrants became assimilated into their new country.
What is a trade agreement?
The term trade agreement or commercial agreement can be used to describe any contractual arrangement between states concerning their trade relationships. Trade agreements may be bilateral or multilateral—that is, between two states or between more than two states.
International Trade explained on FactMonster (after clicking the link, visit the 'import export why bother?' where you'll find a terrific example with tables)
The fundamental reason for foreign trade is quite simple: Some nations are better at producing certain things than others. This means that they will all be economically better off if they specialize in what they do best and exchange a portion of what they produce for the goods of other nations who also specialize in what they do best.
In a way, the rationale for international trade follows the same line of logic that caused a worker in a medieval village to specialize in butchering or baking or candlestick making, and then exchange her goods with other specialists. International trade works the same way, only on a larger scale.
How to find a supplier for the good you need to import?
To find suppliers of the product you want to import, you'll need to consult some specialized online resources.
These four are a good start: Alibaba, GlobalSources, ThomasNet and Kompass. When you travel internationally, provided you set aside time to do a little shopping, you can always stumble upon a product you like and find out who the manufacturer is (look on the package).
To save time in your quest for a supplier, you might also try searching the Internet with specific key words, for example, "Japan, gourmet food product manufacturers," to see what is currently available online. Plan to attend a trade exhibition in your industry such as Foodex, Japan's largest food show, to locate a supplier. Alternatively, to contain costs, look into local trade shows that feature an "international hall" to source a supplier.
Finally, a website from About.com focusing on Import-Export. You'll find everything you need to know there: http://importexport.about.com/