Definitions

Entrepôt

Entrepôt

[ahn-truh-poh; Fr. ahn-truh-poh]
An entrepôt (from the French "warehouse") is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt instead. The entrepôt then sells at a higher price to ships travelling the other segment of the route. Today, this use has mostly been supplanted by customs areas.

Entrepôts were especially relevant in the Middle Ages and in the early modern period, when mercantile shipping flourished between Europe and its colonial empires in the Americas and Asia. For example, demand for spices in Europe, coupled with the long trade routes necessary for their delivery, led to a much higher market price than the original buying price. However, traders often did not want to travel the whole route, and thus used the entrepôts on the way to sell on their goods. However, this also led to even more attractive profits for those who persevered to travel the entire route.

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