Trade between countries may be said to be conducted in a manner somewhat similar to that employed here between cities or towns, except that the method of payment or reimbursement to the shipper necessarily differs by reason of greater distance, the difference in kind of money used, and commercial customs in the two countries. To obtain payment for goods shipped to a foreign country which perhaps would not arrive at their destination for several weeks and possibly months, according to distance, and whether by fast or slow steamer, to say nothing of the fact that to some countries steamers only leave our ports semi-monthly or monthly, it is the usual custom of the shipper, whom we term the exporter, to sell his commercial bill of exchange against the shipment in advance to the highest bidder; and he rarely experiences any difficulty in finding a ready purchaser.
Our exporters, in competing with foreign manufacturers, must take into consideration cost of transportation, insurance on goods, customs duties, difference in value of money, and the probable price at which they can discount or sell their commercial bills against the same. Time credit must also be extended to the buyer. If our exporters had to wait for payment until the maturity of their bills, it would mean the tying up of a large amount of capital and possibly prevent their competing successfully.