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World rebukes Trump on new trade tariffs
March 3, 2018, 10:41 am

The US imports at least 23 per cent of all steel imports in the world [Xinhua]

Criticism of US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would impose a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel has come fast and furious.

World leaders, including prominent trade organizations and American allies, have lashed out at Trump saying that he is igniting a trade war.

“I do not think that trade wars can be won by anybody. Trade wars are a lose-lose game. For the simple reason ‘if you do it to me I will do it to you’,” Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director the International Trade Center (ITC), told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the tarrifs would hurt both his country and the US.

“The United States has a $2-billion surplus on steel with us, so we regard the imposition of any new tariffs or any tariffs on steel or aluminum between our two countries as absolutely unacceptable,” Trudeau said on Friday.

Canada is hoping it will be exempted from the new tarrifs, which also include 10 per cent on aluminum. It is the largest steel exporter to the US, followed by Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Turkey and Germany.

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute the US imported 38.1 million tons of steel in 2017, a 15.4 per cent jump from a year earlier.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU would have no choice but to impose retaliatory tariffs of its own, with broader implications that will batter employment in the US.

On Saturday, the EU drafted a list of US industry and popular products that would be on the block if Trump does go ahead and formalizes the tariff.

“So now we will also impose import tariffs. This is basically a stupid process, the fact that we have to do this. But we have to do it. We will now impose tariffs on motorcycles, Harley Davidson, on blue jeans, Levis, on Bourbon. We can also do stupid. We also have to be this stupid,” Juncker said.

But so far, Trump won’t budge. On Friday afternoon local time, he said that the US is losing billions in doing business with other countries, and welcomed a trade war, which he said his country would win.

But a trade war is in no one’s interests, says World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo.

“The WTO is clearly concerned at the announcement of US plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum,” he said.

“The potential for escalation is real, as we have seen from the initial responses of others.”

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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