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From VOA Special English:

Problems getting visas, corruption and high transportation costs are some of the barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent.

How to explain the position of the word Problems? Does it refer to only one barrier or all the three barriers? And according to my sense of language, I think that it should have a preposition after the word Problems, just as follows:

Problems of getting visas, corruption and high transportation costs are some of the barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent.

So How to explain the original sentence?

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I think the best way to explain it is with a reordering that makes is easier to parse:

Some of the barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent are: problems getting visas, corruption and high transportation costs.

You could indeed use a preposition if you wanted to, but I don't think it's necessary. My preposition of choice would be with:

Some of the barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent are: problems with getting visas, corruption and high transportation costs.

Introducing the preposition, though, makes the ambiguity greater. That is, it's hard to tell if the word problems is introducing three problems or one. Going back to the original, I think it's more apparent that there are three reasons – problems with getting visas is the first, and corruption and high transportation costs are the other two, but we could make that more explicit if we felt it was necessary to reduce the ambiguity:

Three barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent are: (a) problems getting visas, (b) corruption and (c) high transportation costs.

or, if we are really after the other interpretation:

Three barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent are problems with: (a) getting visas, (b) corruption and (c) high transportation costs.

Another clue about how problems should be applied in the original sentence is that it's easy to see that corruption would be a barrier (no need to specify that "problems with corruption" is the issue; corruption is inherently problematic). The same could be said of high transportation costs. Had the sentence been written as:

Some of the barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent are: problems with getting visas, government officials, and transportation costs.

That sentence seems to indicate there are problems with: (a) getting visas, (b) government officials (they must be corrupt or something), and (c) transportation costs (which we would assume would be high). But we could move the colon to make that more clear:

Some of the barriers companies face when they attempt to trade within the continent are problems with: getting visas, government officials, and transportation costs.

However, the original has no colon, so we can only speculate about how it should be parsed:

(Problems with X), (Y), and (Z) are some of the barriers companies face...

or:

Problems with (X), (Y), and (Z) are some of the barriers companies face...

Clues can be provided by wording, punctuation, and the ordering of words, but it's also worth pointing out that, in this case, the overall meaning of the sentence doesn't really change based on the parsing – both "corruption" and "problems with corruption" mean pretty much the same thing when it comes to trade barriers. However, that won't always be the case:

Decorated Christmas trees and presents are two of my favorite parts of Christmas.

Do I mean that I like decorated trees, and I like gift-giving? Or does it mean that I like decorated trees, and decorated presents? I might assume the former, but writers should be aware that the second could be a valid interpretation, especially if all the presents under my tree look something like this:

one of J.R.'s decorated presents

If you ever saw one of my bad wrapping jobs, though, you'd rule that out pretty quickly.

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