Interstate Commerce Law & Legal Definition


Interstate commerce refers to the purchase, sale or exchange of commodities, transportation of people, money or goods, and navigation of waters between different states. Interstate commerce is regulated by the federal government as authorized under Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government can also regulate commerce within a state when it may impact interstate movement of goods and services and may strike down state actions which are barriers to such movement.

Historically, interstate commerce was regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) under authority granted by the Interstate Commerce Act, first enacted by Congress in 1887. However, most ICC control over interstate trucking was abandoned in 1994, and the agency was terminated at the end of 1995. Many of its remaining functions were transferred to the new National Surface Transportation Board.

Example of a Federal Statute defining interstate or foreign commerce

According to 18 USCS § 921 the term "interstate or foreign commerce" includes commerce between any place in a State and any place outside of that State, or within any possession of the United States (not including the Canal Zone) or the District of Columbia, but such term does not include commerce between places within the same State but through any place outside of that State. The term "State" includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the possessions of the United States (not including the Canal Zone).