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Trump tariff plan meets resistance

China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-04 08:26

US president strikes defiant tone amid global warnings of retaliation

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund said on Friday that the import restrictions announced by US President Donald Trump would not only hurt the United States but also other economies.

"The import restrictions announced by the US president are likely to cause damage not only outside the US, but also to the US economy itself, including to its manufacturing and construction sectors, which are major users of aluminum and steel," said IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice in a statement on Friday.

The IMF expressed its concern that other countries might follow suit by using "national security" to justify broad-based import restrictions.

"We encourage the US and its trading partners to work constructively together to reduce trade barriers and to resolve trade disagreements without resort to such emergency measures," said the statement.

Trump on Thursday announced that the US planned to impose 25 percent of tariff on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminum, as these imports threaten US national security.

Following the announcement, US business associations expressed their strong opposition against the import restrictions, arguing that the high tariffs would disrupt current supply chains and increase production costs.

Trade partners, including Canada and the European Union, said the US actions were unacceptable and they reserve the right to retaliate if the US import restrictions hurt their workers.

Many other businesses and groups, as well as some administration officials and congressional Republicans, have expressed concern over Trump's plan, arguing that such action would hurt US companies and consumers of steel and aluminum, and possibly the US economy, and is certain to raise the ire of its trading partners.

Canada, the largest exporter of steel and aluminum to the US, said on Thursday that it viewed as "absolutely unacceptable" any trade limits on the Canadian metals.

"Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers," said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Trump struck a defiant tone on Friday, saying trade wars were good and easy to win.

"When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win," he tweeted on Friday.

In a later social media post, Trump said his aim was to protect US jobs in the face of cheaper foreign products.

"We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. IF YOU DON'T HAVE STEEL, YOU DON'T HAVE A COUNTRY!" he wrote.

Xinhua - Reuters

(China Daily 03/04/2018 page9)

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