The International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) is the global trade association for trade exchanges which includes retail barter exchanges, corporate trade companies, complementary currency organizations and counter trade systems. IRTA promotes proper accountability rules, equitable standards, ethics and governmental relations, for the organized barter industry and its participating members. IRTA takes a major industry advocacy position to preserve, protect and enhance the barter industry. Its members are situated in Australia, Canada, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sardinia, Spain, Singapore, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. IRTA's home office is in Portsmouth, Virginia, USA. The President & CEO of IRTA is Ron Whitney.
IRTA estimates that the 400,000 participating businesses transacted $14 billion globally in 2104/15 -- and it is anticipated that the 14 billion trade volume number will grow another 5 to 10% a year.
A barter exchange acts as a third party record keeper for its participating business clients. These member businesses buy and sell products and services on a barter basis using trade credits to account for each transaction. Barter exchanges practice third party bartering, meaning the seller does not have to buy from whom he or she sold to, rather, the seller's account is credited the market value of the sale in trade dollars. This modern trade and barter method is different than the ancient "direct trade" when people swapped one thing for another. Modern trade and barter has evolved into a sophisticated alternative way for business owners to increase sales and revenue, conserving cash, move inventory, maximize their excess or unused capacity to improve their financial bottom line.
Most trade exchanges are members of international trading networks that provide them with opportunities to access larger, global marketplaces. IRTA provides its own international clearinghouse platform for member trade exchanges called Universal Currency http://ucci.trade (UC) - UC is the largest industry owned international trading platform in the modern trade and barter industry.
In 2015 IRTA assisted with the formation of a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation called the Complementary Economics Foundation,(CEF). The CEF's mission is to provide international education for legal and sustainable commercial and non-commercial community based mutual credit clearing systems that provide an important alternative marketplace for NGO's, non-profits, businesses and consumers.
One of IRTA's biggest historical achievements was the adoption of the TEFRA Act in 1982 whereby the IRS recognized trade exchanges as third party record keepers. IRTA also re-wrote and modernized its Code Ethics and Conduct at the 32nd IRTA International Convention in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
IRTA regularly releases Advisory Memos to the barter industry and public-at-large covering numerous topical issues of interest.