What is a merchant?

We explain what a merchant is and the history of the emergence of commerce. Commercial law, rights and obligations of the merchant.

  1. What is a merchant?

The merchant understands is a  person who is dedicated to negotiate buying and selling different merchandise such as economic activity, business , trade or profession. The merchants are those people who buy products at a certain price, then sell it at a higher price and thus obtain a difference, which constitutes the profit.

It may happen that before selling it, a transformation has been applied to the good that provides added value, or that is directly sold in the same way it was purchased, in which case the function is limited to bringing products to customers that, otherwise, they probably wouldn’t get.

  1. Trade history

Trade history
The emergence of coins ended the need for barter. 

The history of commerce is not separate from the general economic history of the world (and mainly from its economic systems), and began when ancient civilizations used barter as a way to exchange possessions.

The need to continue exchanging goods even in asymmetric situations determined the emergence of coins , with which it was no longer necessary for both parties to have something to give to receive one good from the other, since the currency became the pattern that governs these transactions .

On the other hand, the means of transport were evolving and making it possible to trade from one place to another, even over great distances, so that today trade not only internal but also between countries is absolutely normal .

There are many factors that have been determining the characteristics of trade and merchants in different parts of the world (regulation or deregulation by the State , new technologies , banking, digitalization of processes , etc.). However, the existence of trade is still needed as an exchange of products for money, and for now, the merchant is an essential figure for this.

  1. Commercial law

The trade is regulated, which gives the merchant a series of rights.

Commercial law is the branch that is dedicated to the study of the legal framework of commerce , and considers that merchants are only people who routinely (and not occasionally) deal with activities that the law considers mercantile. The Commercial Codes of the countries are those that establish the particularities, but in many cases the assessments coincide.

The commercial acts, in our country, are the legal legal ones to constitute or to modify commercial obligations between parts. These acts must be carried out at the expense of a person, with no intermediary (such as employees, carriers or managers) acquiring the merchant category.

For these transactions, people must possess capacity , not being able to be minors, or disabled by dementia or by particular diseases, as well as people who occupy a series of positions that are considered incompatible to engage in trade (magistrates, judges or employees in collection and administration of public funds, for example).

The trade is regulated, which gives the merchant a series of rights but also a number of obligations. The former are guaranteed only based on compliance with the latter, and include the use of accounting books as a means of proof, non-discrimination by regulatory entities, or the ability to request judicial agreements with any creditors

The commercial obligations in Argentina are the following:

  • Registration in the Public Registry of Commerce.  so that anyone can access the background of the merchant, as well as the consultation of solvency, domicile and responsibility .
  • Conservation of all accounting books.  so that individual operations can be legally identified, with due detail of figures and statements.
  • Preservation of correspondence. that is related to the merchant’s turn, not being able to judicially excuse himself for having lost or discarded it.
  • Accountability before the law.

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