Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total market value, expressed in dollars, of all final goods and services produced in an economy in a given year. When compared with previous periods, GDP tells whether an economy is producing more output (expanding) or less output (contracting). As such, it is a useful measure of the health of the economy and among the most important and widely reported economic data. A variety of people, from business owners to policymakers, consider GDP when making decisions. Additionally, international trade is measured as part of GDP and is a large and growing component of our nation's economy. It's also an important, but controversial, political issue. However, the current textbook and classroom treatment of how international trade is measured as part of GDP can lead to misconceptions if not properly explained. This essay intends to correct misconceptions and provide clear instruction.