Trade wars 'cannot be won by anybody': ITC head

Updated 2018-03-03 11:10:08 Xinhua

The head the International Trade Center (ITC) has joined the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in expressing concerns about the potential for a trade war after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke of imposing steel and aluminum tariffs.

Trump said Thursday he would impose 25 percent of tariff on steel imports products and 10 percent on aluminum to protect U.S. industry.

Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the ITC said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, "I am concerned about what is happening in international trade now.

"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'."

Her comments came after WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in comments, "The WTO is clearly concerned at the announcement of U.S. plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum.

"The potential for escalation is real, as we have seen from the initial responses of others. A trade war is in no-one's interests."

Before joining the ITC, a joint development agency of the WTO and the United Nations in 2013, Gonzalez served as Chief of Staff at the WTO for eight years.

She said she watched the imposition of steel safeguards by the United States under President George W. Bush and saw the effect they had between 2002 and 2004.

"There was a net loss of 200,000 jobs in the U.S. because of those measures. They were mostly jobs in the users' industry. We have a precedent and we have seen the terrible consequences."

Canada is the largest steel exporter to the U.S. market, with steel imports from Canada accounting for 16.1 percent of the U.S. total steel imports in 2017, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department.

But Gonzalez noted that Canada has a 2-billion-U.S.-dollar trade deficit with the United States on steel.

"That means the U.S. exports more to Canada than Canada exports to the U.S.," she said, shaking her head.

She said the top exporters of steel to the United States in order are Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Turkey and Germany.

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