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London — Trade and investment restrictions are proliferating around the world, driven by a combination of security concerns and protectionist pressures. In each instance, policy makers can usually cite a justification of why trade and investment restrictions are necessary. But taken together, a thickening web of restrictions on cross-border transactions is imposing a growing burden on business as well as complicating supply chains. The US and China have threatened to hit each other with tariffs covering up to $300bn of bilateral trade in a dispute over intellectual property and technology transfers. The US has already imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of steel, aluminium and solar panels from China, citing concerns about unfair trade. China has responded with its own anti-dumping duties on imported sorghum from the US and is investigating other products on which to do the same. US officials have raised security concerns about telecoms switch gear from Chinese...

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