Date
24 June 2018
Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the WTO, gestures during a news conference in Brasilia on Monday. Photo: Reuters
Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the WTO, gestures during a news conference in Brasilia on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Trump tariff move could spark trade wars that will hurt all: WTO

US President Donald Trump’s decision on steel and aluminum tariffs could spark retaliation from other nations and lead to unforeseen consequences, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned on Monday.

“You know when it starts but not how it will turn out” when countries engage in mutual retaliation,  Roberto Azevêdo said in Brasilia after a meeting with Brazilian President Michel Temer, Reuters reports.

“This process of tit-for-tat can induce at times trade wars that are in no one’s interests,” said the WTO Director-General.

Trump last week said he would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, sending countries scrambling to negotiate exemptions or consider retaliatory measures.

Trump said that Canada and Mexico would be exempt from the tariffs. 

WTO’s Azevêdo called for a multilateral approach rather than multiple bilateral actions.

Brazil, which is the second biggest supplier of steel to the US after Canada, is said to be “exploring alternatives” for responding to the tariffs.

The country remains open for a dialogue to reach an understanding with the US and is talking to other countries to learn about measures they are considering, according to Azevêdo.

The official told reporters that he doesn’t know if Brazil would resort to the WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism but said the country was not ruling it out.

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RC

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