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Global Trade’s Evolution May Check Trump’s Protectionism

President Donald Trump has looked to make protectionism respectable again, citing Abraham Lincoln’s embrace of tariffs, pulling the U.S. out of a Pacific trade pact and preparing tariffs on steel imports. But changes in the international economy and the institutions governing trade are acting as constraints on what Mr. Trump can achieve.

Gone are Mr. Trump’s campaign threats to hit China with 45% tariffs and Mexico with 35% levies. Steel tariffs could come in a matter of days, but steel lobbyists worry they will be more…

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