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International Trade by a Commercially ‘Passive’ Participant

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Chapter Summary

Although much is known about the wider political and economic developments occurring in the Austrian Netherlands during eighteenth-century, and despite the broad consensus that has emerged regarding the many merits of the nation's new trade policy, one still left with only scarce and usually indefinite statements on the nature and the impact of its international trade. This chapter underlines the fact that while opinions are less overtly contradictory and distinct than in the international debate on the importance of external (often colonial) commerce, they are also much more confused and hypothetical. Even the efforts of the Austrian government to encourage trade between the nation's hereditary lands and the Southern Netherlands met with little success. A major reason for this was abolishment of the Ostend Company in 1732, which rendered the Southern Netherlands a relatively passive player in international trade.

Keywords: Austrian Netherlands; economic development; international trade; passive participant; political development; trade policy



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