When a government sets trade regulations and imposes tariffs to make sure that there is an appropriate balance of exports over imports, this method of governing is an example ofmercantilism.
- the doctrine that arose in Europe with the decline of feudalism, that the economic interests of the nation could be strengthened by the government by protection of home industries, as through tariffs, by increased foreign trade, as through monopolies, and by a balance of exports over imports, with a consequent accumulation of bullion
- The theory and system of political economy prevailing in Europe after the decline of feudalism, based on national policies of accumulating bullion, establishing colonies and a merchant marine, and developing industry and mining to attain a favorable balance of trade.
- The practice, methods, or spirit of merchants; commercialism.
Origin of mercantilismmercantil(e) + –ism.