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It is a common misperception that we live in a world of few trade barriers. According to the Wall St Journal, this year governments around the world, including many of the largest economies, have resorted to employing new trade barriers. We might point to shrinking manufacturing in China, reduced consumer spending in Europe and low commodity prices for the stuttering global economy, but a raft of protectionist measures should also bear some of the blame. “The group of 20 leading economies have resorted to so-called ‘trade distortions’, 40% more frequently in the first 10 months of 2015 than they did last year,” it says, with Russia and India the most enthusiastic users of trade barriers.

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