If anyone still needs proof that trade isnt a zero-sum game in which success depends on turning imports into exports, an examination of data for over 160 countries provides it. For almost four-fifths of countries last year, the volume of exports and imports marched together, up or down, in lockstep. Growing an economy is not a matter of turning imports into exports. Robust economies do more of both.
Mercantilists view the trade balance of a country the way one would read the balance sheet of a company, with exports taking the place of profits and imports seen as losses. Global trade is…

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