A:

Data on import tariffs are compiled by the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Tariff analysis can be complicated, as different rates apply to different products from different partners. Moreover, the listed or "bound" rates often do not match applied rates. The tariff rankings listed below are based on the World Bank's "weighted mean applied tariff" figures, which account for the volume of imports from different partners, as of 2015.

The countries with the highest import tariffs are the Bahamas, Benin, Bermuda and Gabon. It is important to note, however, that reliable information is missing for dozens of countries, including large and relatively protectionist ones such as India. Below are the ten countries with the highest tariffs:

Highest tariffs
Country Weighted mean applied tariff
Bahamas 18.66%
Benin 17.22%
Bermuda 15.61%
Gabon 14.54%
Laos 14.19%
Chad 13.92%
Central African Republic 13.88%
Dominica 13.72%
St. Kitts and Nevis 12.28%
Ethiopia 12.14%
Source: World Bank, 2015 data

As the examples above indicate, less-developed countries tend to have the highest trade barriers. Developed countries are generally less restrictive: 27 of the European Union's 28 members, for example, have an applied tariff rate of 1.6% (Iceland's is even lower, at 0.8%). This may not remain the case, however, as political opposition to pro-trade policies spreads in the developed world. Nor are the ten countries with the lowest tariffs all wealthy:

Lowest tariffs
Country Weighted mean applied tariff
Singapore 0.00%
Macao (China) 0.00%
Hong Kong (China) 0.00%
Switzerland 0.00%
Georgia 0.30%
Botswana 0.54%
Mauritius 0.63%
Chile 0.64%
Iceland 0.77%
Namibia 0.87%
Source: World Bank, 2015 data

When Adam Smith published "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776, international trade was dominated by extremely restrictive import tariffs. His influence has contributed to a consensus among economists that lowering barriers to trade encourages economic growth; that consensus was particularly strong among Western economists in the second half of the 20th century, leading to a general decline in tariffs around the world.

Many tariffs still exist, however, even among the most free-market countries. Japan, for example, favors its rice farmers though high import duties, and the U.S. does the same for its peanut farmers. Nor are tariffs the only variety of trade barrier: others include exchange controls, subsidies, fair trade laws, local-content requirments and quotas on imports and exports. Based on this broader view of trade barriers, the Fraser Institute compiled a ranking of countries based on openness to trade in 2014:

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