Perhaps this is obvious, but it's always been one of those things that has created doubt in my mind, so I sent a question to FFG:
The Political Card Minister of Commerce allows the elected player to collect 1 Trade Good during the Status Phase from each player that has a Trade Agreement.
Question: When in the Status Phase is this Trade Good to be collected? Or can it be anytime?
On the one hand, when "spend Trade Goods" Public Objectives are present, the players that have not been elected would prefer to wait until after the "claim objectives" step of the Status Phase sequence. On the other hand, the elected player would probably like to be able to pick and choose his opportunity -- like waiting until after a player has used the refresh ability on his Trade Station.
A related question: Is it possible for all of the other players to give their Trade Goods to just one player, then have that one player pay just 1 Trade Good, then have that designated player return all of the Trade Goods to their original owners?"
The answer I received:
This card may be used at any time during the status phase.
Players cannot interrupt this action in order and give away their trade goods. If players decide however to give away their trade goods at other points during the turn (in order to prevent the Minister from taking Trade goods), they may do so. However, there is no guarantee that players will give you back your trade goods afterwards.
I hope this answers your question!
VP of R&D
Fantasy Flight Games"