In Latin it is where we can clearly find the etymological origin of the word merchant. Specifically, it emanates from the Latin noun commercium, in turn made up of two different parts: the prefix with -, which is equivalent to “set”, and the word merx, which can be translated as “merchandise”.
Merchant is the person who trades (that is, who is dedicated to negotiating buying and selling merchandise). The term is used to name who owns a business or who works in a business. For example: “My father is a merchant: he has a computer supplies store in the center”, “The neighborhood merchants demand greater security in the face of the wave of robberies”, “I was once a successful merchant, although the economic crisis of the ‘ 90 forced me to close the business ”.
It is interesting to note, in addition to all the above, that merchants carry out one of the oldest activities in the world. And it is that already in the Neolithic there were all kinds of transactions, which at that time revolved around agriculture. Then with the passage of time they were expanded and developed with activities such as barter or with elements such as the appearance of money.
It should be noted that carrying out an act of commerce does not imply that a person is a merchant, since whoever buys in a store is also taking part in this type of action. However, in that case, it is an accidental subject of trade. The merchant, on the other hand, is the one who carries out commercial acts on a regular basis.
In commercial law, merchants or commercial subjects are the people who are subject to regulation. In other words, a merchant is a person to whom the commercial laws apply.
These regulations, among many other aspects, make it clear that the merchant as such has a series of very important obligations so that his activity is under the necessary parameters of legality. Specifically, they determine that you have to comply with these actions:
• It is essential that you strictly and exhaustively keep an accounting of your business.
• In order to carry out its commercial activity, it is vital that it is registered in the corresponding commercial register.
• Of course, you must keep all the documentation related to both your premises and the exercise of your activity.
• Another of the most important obligations that merchants are also required to pay the corresponding taxes, based on their exercise.
• All this without forgetting either that it must be subject to all those actions that are requested by State entities and that are dedicated to controlling commercial activity.
In some countries, and depending on the context, the term may be used in a derogatory or critical way. In these cases, a merchant is someone who lies or cheats with the intention of completing a commercial transaction, defrauding another person: “This doctor is a merchant: every time I go to the office, he wants to sell me some new treatment”, “Miguel is a trader is always trying to gain some advantage in his favor ”, “ I am a professional who trades, not a trader ”.