Is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. in particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. mercantilism dominated western european economic policy and discourse from the 16th to late-18th centuriesmercantilism was a cause of frequent european wars in that time and motivated colonial expansion. mercantilist policies have included: high tariffs, especially on manufactured goods; monopolizing markets with staple ports; exclusive trade with colonies; forbidding trade to be carried in foreign ships; export subsidies; banning all export of gold and silver; promoting manufacturing with research or direct subsidies; limiting wages; maximizing the use of domestic resources; restricting domestic consumption with non-tariff barriers to trade. mercantilism reached its low-water mark in the last half of the nineteenth century as the british empire embraced free-trade and used its power as the financial center of the world to promote the same. little import and a lot of export. those counties who applied it had a growing economy, those who didnt applied had a ruined economy. spain didnt applied it and the whole gold from the new world went to france, england and the german empire cause spain imported goods from these countries.