Fighting talk of a new trade war this week, thanks to a series of ham-fisted blunders by US president Donald Trump, means we now risk a return to the dog-eat-dog world of protectionism.It’s a threat, not just to SA’s weak economic recovery, but to global growth. Until recently, analysts like Goldman Sachs dismissed Trump’s grandstanding as bluster. Now, however, the markets are beginning to believe Trump may lead the world into a full-blown trade war. So far, Trump’s moves to hike tariffs have invited costly tit-for-tat retaliatory measures — but his belligerence remains undimmed.Trump seems to still believe that his stance will force countries with which the US has a trade deficit to the negotiating table. But it could just as easily backfire, stoking resentment and inflaming international tensions.If Trump knew his history — and there is no evidence he does — he would know there are no winners in a global trade war. It would hurt all sides, including the US, as well as small count...

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