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Free trade

tariffs

Free trade, international commerce, free from tariffs, quotas, or other legal restriction, except nonrestrictive tariffs levied for revenue only. The opposite of free trade is protectionism. Among early advocates of free trade were the physiocrats, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and J.S. Mill. Modern economists generally accept free trade but advocate varying degrees of protection to safeguard employment and developing industries, as in the theories of J.M. Keynes. The United States had traditionally been protectionist but after World War II became committed to free trade.

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