It did *not* start me with any trade techs, when I researched the diplomacy prerequisite the trade tech tree lit up like I had gotten it, but I still cant build freighters and it still shows up as a researchable tech.
It sounds like you're playing the campaign missions, in which certain technologies are disabled.
Nope. Have not looked at the campaign at all yet.
Okay how about the ship designer, can you find trade modules in there?