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China warns of effect of Trump’s protectionism
March 4, 2018, 9:20 am

China has warned the US not to adapt protectionist measures to global trade [Image: Archives]

China has warned the international community not to follow in US President Donald Trump’s footsteps and impose trade tariffs.

Officials in Beijing have called on the US to practice restraint on protectionist measures, and to comply with multilateral trade provisions.

“The US has launched over a hundred anti-dumping and countervailing measures on most imported steel and aluminum products, providing overprotection for its domestic products,” said Wang Hejun, head of the trade remedy and investigation bureau with the Ministry of Commerce, in a news release.

“If other countries follow the practice of the US, it will have a serious impact on international trade order.”

China’s steel comprises half of the world’s trade, but only two per cent of US imports.

There are fears that retaliatory measures taken by the EU and individual countries could quickly escalate into a major trade war.

“The imposition of a tariff like this will do nothing other than distort trade and ultimately, we believe, will lead to a loss of jobs,” Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo told reporters in Sydney.

South Korea, which is the third largest steel exporter to the US, said it was talking to US officials about an exemption from the 25 per cent tariff announced by Trump on Thursday.

But Moody’s ratings agency says the impact of the trade tariff on Asia will be minimal.

“In Asia, the direct economic effects at the macro level would be very small as exports of aluminum and steel to the US typically amount to less than 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or exports,” Moody’s said in a research note made available to the media on Friday.

But Asian steel manufacturers fear that Asia may become saturated with steel should global players divert their attention away from the US and to developing countries like South Korea and Thailand, and other countries in Southeast Asia.

With excess steel in the markets, prices will drop and put a dent in these economies. The uptick is that steel may get cheaper for the consumer market.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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