WTO Chief warns US-China trade war 'Worst-Case Scenario for the Global Economy'

Published On: July 26, 2018 02:44 PM NPT By: Agencies

GENEVA, July 26: A trade spat between the US and China shows no sign of ceasing amid fears that President Donald Trump's plans to slap 25 percent tariffs on European cars may further add to a full-blown global trade war.

Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Roberto Azevedo specifically focused on the ongoing trade war between the US and China, which he warned may finally ride roughshod over the world economy.

"The worst-case scenario for the global economy, for the consumer, for everyone on the surface of the Earth, is to have no rules, to have the law of the jungle. […] Investors are going to pull back, the economy is going to lose steam and over time millions of jobs will be lost," he pointed out.

Warning against "eye-for-an-eye" retaliation, Azevedo explained that "a solution can only be found through high-level discussions and engagement."

The WTO chief also cautioned Washington against pursuing its protectionist policies, which he predicted may leave the US economically vulnerable. 
In this context, he urged all those "who believe that trade is a force for good to speak up."

Azevedo's remarks came after Trump's meeting with European Commission PresidentJean-Claude Juncker in Washington, where the US and EU agreed to work toward "zero tariffs" on industrial goods, apart from cars.

On Wednesday, Trump accused China of staging a "vicious" attack on US farmers, referring to new tariffs that Beijing slapped on a number of American farm products, such as soy beans, corn, wheat, cotton, rice,  beef, pork, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts and vegetables.

At the same time, Trump rejected criticism pertaining to his decision to impose tariffs on US allies, adding that the "end result will be worth it."

Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop trade talks or the use of tariffs to counter unfair tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking? Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off?" he wrote on his Twitter page.

Last week, China signaled its intent to adopt more countermeasures to protect its interests and rights after the US's move to introduce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The trade row between Beijing and Washington escalated in April after the US slapped 25- and 10-percent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, respectively, from China. The Asian nation has hit back by slapping reciprocal tariffs on a number of US imports.

In an earlier round of tariffs announced in June and actualized on July 6, the US announced 25 percent duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, to which Beijing China responded by imposing restrictions for the same amount of US imports.

During his election campaign in 2016, Trump pledged to change his country's trade policies by resorting to protectionism. After his inauguration, he started to deliver on his promises by withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and imposing additional tariffs on its trade partners.

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