Trump's Tariffs Could Lead To Showdown With World Trade Organization

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The WTO has been reluctant to rule against that argument.

India's Tata Steel is concerned about USA plans to impose tariffs on steel imports, a senior executive at the group's European unit said on Wednesday. We also hope to convince the United States administration that this is not the right move.

At play is the most immediate of the EU's proposed three-pronged response to the Trump tariffs.

In Geneva, China raised its concerns at the World Trade Organization where 17 other WTO members also voiced misgivings.

Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said the European Union will "be ready to react appropriately".

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Both the USA invocation of national security and the EU's rejection of Washington's argument would be rare manoeuvres in WTO history and be a test of the trade arbiter's ability to resolve disputes between its largest members.

"We do not want this to go out of proportion, but. if it does happen we will have to take measures to protect European jobs".

With Canada and Mexico, "our objective is to have a new NAFTA and once we do that - which I'm cautiously optimistic on - the tariffs won't apply to them", he said.

Trump has defiantly hit back at global critics, saying trade wars are "good, and easy to win".

In a sign of growing global alarm at the possible consequences of Trump's protectionist measures, Roberto Azevedo, the WTO's director general, said "in the light of recent announcements on trade policy measures, it is clear we now see a much higher and real risk of triggering an escalation of trade barriers around the world".

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"The WTO is clearly concerned at the announcement of USA plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum", the director-general said. We will now impose tariffs on motorcycles - Harley Davidson, on blue jeans - Levis, on Bourbon.

"We're in a very bad place", she said.

Last night his most senior economic adviser and free trade advocate Gary Cohn quit over the escalating situation, and will leave his post in the coming weeks.

However, the International Monetary Fund warned last week that the import restrictions announced by the USA president are likely to cause damage not only outside the United States, but also to the US economy itself, including to its manufacturing and construction sectors, which are major users of aluminum and steel.

The size of the European Union countermeasures reflects the impact the USA tariffs would have on steel and aluminium products for which imports into the United States did not even increase in 2017.

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