The United States, China and the EU are the main players - economic prosperity the aim of the game. They can adopt a strategy of protectionism or free trade, with measures ranging from provocative trade tariffs to calming de-escalation tactics.
Africa is trading - just not within the continent. The African Union wants to change this and launch the world's largest free trade area. The plan has potential, but some member states are keeping the AU in suspense.
Almost all tariffs on trade between the European Union and the world's third-biggest economy have been removed. European companies could save around a billion euros in duties each year.
The German and French economy ministers have set out a 14-point manifesto for a European industrial policy fit for the 21st century. After it blocked the Alstom-Siemens tie-up, the EU faced stern criticism.
How quickly can the trade spat between the United States and China be resolved? At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, some believe it could take years before a sustainable settlement is agreed.
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