WTO's credibility, survival at risk as trade war looms

Hua Chunying spokeswoman of China’s Foreign Ministry gestures at a regular news conference in Beijing China Jan. 6 2016

Donald Trump's administration has struck with custom duties the imports of the European Union, threatening to impose customs duties on vehicle imports from Europe in order to curb it.

The trade war effectively started earlier this month, when the United States imposed the first round of tariffs and China responded in kind.

For Zhenjiang Kimtex Industrial Company in eastern China's Jiangsu province, the U.S. accounts for 40% of its sales, or about 3 million yuan ($445,000) a year. Eight trading partners - China, India, the EU, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Russia and Switzerland - have so far filed complaints to the WTO against the USA steel and aluminium tariffs.

"Price hikes caused by the increased tariffs would adversely affect these industries".

In the statement, Lighthizer says the USA will "take all necessary actions to protect our interests", while urging the five WTO members named in the complaint to "work constructively" with the United States to resolve the matter.

China said on Thursday comments made by a senior White House official blaming Chinese President Xi Jinping for blocking progress on a deal to avert a trade war were "shocking" and "bogus" accusations. Following a retaliation by China, Trump has now threatened additional tariffs that total close to $500 billion, almost the entire amount of United States imports from China.

But the story won't end there.

The dispute between the two largest economies in the world has jolted global financial markets and triggered worries of a full-scale trade war possibly derailing the world economy.

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The USTR's 205-page list of proposed tariffs published July 10, seen here, includes almost all categories of seafood produced or processed in China as well as many textiles, fruit, minerals, mechanical and industrial goods.

These frictions started nearly two weeks ago with the imposition by Washington of 25 percent tariffs on Chinese products for a value of 34 billion dollars.

"These tariffs appear to breach each WTO member's commitments under the WTO Agreement".

Garment-maker Dongguan Xinyu Apparel Company, which mostly produces caps for export to the U.S. and Europe, is in no doubt about how damaging the tariffs could be, saying it would "definitely" have an impact on its business. Governments should take advantage of the economic upswing to build buffers against future risks and renew their commitment to global cooperation, while central banks should raise rates in a gradual, well-communicated way, the IMF said.

Speaking at a news conference, he said: "If China wishes to open up, it can do so".

The United States told the WTO last week that a "reckoning" over China's unfair trade policies is urgent and is too big for the WTO to handle.

"The United States is holding a tariff bar and practicing trade-bullying worldwide, while advertising its grievances and innocence, and shifting the blame onto others in the meantime", Gao said.

As Mr. deLisle read the moves, Mr. Trump expects the other countries to step forward and negotiate with him. That was been a key factor in China's export boom.

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