British Mercantile System Impacts on Trade

British Mercantile System Impacts on Trade

Mercantilism theory holds that government involves itself in regulating the economy and trade in order to enhance the local industry (Rankin, 2011). The government achieves this at the expense of the other nations. The government imposes restrictive policies that prevents entry of imports in a country in order to improve the domestic industries. British is the perfect example of the country that applied mercantilism system to ensure that it controlled commerce and trade of its home industries. This was achieved in a number of ways: A PLAGIARIZED SAMPLE-ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

First, English proposed that all that all the colonies imports they should be from England or be resold by British traders irrespective of the cost to be incurred if bought elsewhere. Second, the British colonial government proposed that it would heavily levy for the imports from other nations. This was to ensure that the imports from other countries apart from England were made expensive. Third, the proposals were aimed to give English traders and English ships a monopoly to operate on British colonies as well as trade between England and colonial ports. Fourth, foreign vessels were denied access to colonial ports and were only permitted to trade at ports in the British Isles.

The above proposals of the Britain was attained through the passage of the several acts famously referred to as Navigation Acts. The 1651 Navigation Act was meant to prevent Dutch shipping, the biggest trade competitor of England. This act held that “No goods of the growth, production, or manufacture of Asia, Africa, or America, shall be imported only by ships that belong to the people of the British Commonwealth (Frieden, 2011, p. 33).” Through this Act the monopoly on British colonial trade was created for the advantage of the British traders and at the same time detriment the Dutch maritime trade.

The 1660 Navigation Act stipulated that:

For the increase of shipping and encouragement of the navigation of this nation, wherein, under the good providence and protection of God, the wealth, safety, and strength of the kingdom is so much concerned…from thence forward, no goods or commodities whatsoever shall be imported into or exported out of any lands, islands, plantations, or territories to his Majesty belonging or in his possession…in Asia, African, or America, in any other ship or ships, vessel or vessels whatsoever, but in such ships or vessels as do truly and without fraud belong only to the people of England…or are of the built of and belonging to any of the said lands,
islands, plantations, or territories, as the proprietors and right owners thereof,
and whereof the master and three quarters of the mariners at least are English (Frieden, 2011, p. 34)”

The goods that were to be shipped to England included dyeing woods, wool, cotton, rice sugar ant tobacco. The heavy taxes imposed on those goods were to go to the England directly but not the colonies of the goods origin.

The Navigation Act of 1663 also known as the Staple Act held that colonial export especially those from America had to be transported in either English or colonial ships. The Act went further to state that all the colonial imports had to first pass via English ports. This Act had to be applied despite whether the imports were for England or another nation in Europe.  This was followed by inspection and taxation of the imported goods. This Act meant that English colonies could only receive European goods through England.

The Navigation Act of the 1733 also referred to as Molasses Act was aimed to impose heavy taxes on American sugar imports from West Indies. In fact, the Act added “fuel on fire” This raised the West Indies sugar for the American colonies forcing them to buy sugar from Britain instead. This Act together with the other three discussed in the paper were meant to establish to British monopoly on British colonial trade for the advantage of the British merchants only: A PLAGIARIZED SAMPLE-ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW


Frieden, J. A. (2011). The Modern Capitalist World Economy: A Historical Overview. New York: Modern Library.

Rankin, K. (2011). Mercantilism Reasoning in Economic Policy Making . Wellington : Unitec Institute of Technology .

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