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Back to the future: Will Trump disrupt global economy?

'America first' could mean returning world to 1930s

| North America
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U.S. President Donald Trump salutes participants during the inaugural parade in Washington, January 20, 2017.   © Reuters

The world is bracing for the impact of U.S. President Donald Trump's impending "America first" agenda, which is unsettling and risks unraveling the open rules-based order that has enabled unprecedented prosperity across the world for the past seven decades. The narrow nationalism and protectionism promised in Trump's inaugural speech offered less a vision of the future than a hallucinatory view of America.

If Trump implements proposed import tariffs, it could at worst unravel a globalized economy and plunge us into a headlong rush back to the 1930s -- a world of protectionist beggar-thy-neighbor policies. At best, it would create great uncertainty and destabilize markets as China, Mexico and the European Union retaliate.

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