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Mercantilism refers to certain economic policies of countries, common in Europe from the 16th to the 18th century, aiming to make the countries stronger, generally viewing countries as being in competition with one another. Various aspects of mercantilism have described as promoting certain government regulations of the economy, promoting exports over imports, promoting accumulation of precious metals such as gold and silver (needed during emergencies such as wars), promotion of thrift and opposition to imported luxury goods, and colonial territories to be markets for exports and suppliers of raw materials to the mother country.

Opposed by various supporters of other economic policies, notably liberals and free trade supporters.

The economic policies of East Asian countries, notably China, have sometimes been described as mercantilist or neo-mercantilist.

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