U.S. tariffs move violates WTO's principles, harms U.S. economy itself

Updated 2018-04-09 09:46:24 Xinhua

As U.S. President Donald Trump initiated the tariffs offensive on steel and aluminum in March and planned more on its imports from China, experts and officials have noted that the U.S. move is in violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s principles and would harmed U.S. economy itself.

Trump's strategy was to wipe out all commercial agreements signed by Washington after World War II which could lead to unprecedented trade disputes, said Joaquin Infante, the winner of Cuba's national economy prize, in a recent interview Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Trump's contempt for multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, aims to return to the decades when the U.S. showed off its economic supremacy, according to him.

"In a world where globalization is irreversible due to technological development and where multilateral trade prevails, Trump is doing quite the opposite with policies that will harm the American economy," he said.

"These tariffs that have targeted China confirm that the Trump administration intends to bypass the WTO's dispute settlement body and unilaterally rely on U.S. law alone regarding the ongoing trade dispute with China," said Jon R. Taylor, a political science professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

"That is a big mistake," he said.

WTO rules and regulations were established to provide a global mechanism to resolve trade disputes, he said.

The American protective measures severely violate the multilateral trade mechanisms, as well as the WTO, said Andras Inotai, research professor at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Science's Institute of World Economics.

He described the U.S. tariffs move as a "own-goal", noting a sound solution to any trade dispute should be filed at the WTO.

The U.S. protectionism measures would backfire on the United States' own economy, Inotai said last month after Trump unveiled his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.

On March 23, the U.S. tariffs move was largely criticized during a WTO meeting in Geneva.

The WTO said in a statement that trade representatives of more than 40 members, including the 28 from the European Union (EU), took the floor to warn against U.S. tariff measures, during a meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods.

Russia said the new tariffs exceed the bound rates the United States had committed to under WTO rules. It sought further clarification how the measure can be justified under WTO rules.

The European Union (EU) does not support measures that would run counter to WTO law, Daniel Rosario, spokesman of the European Commission, told reporters Wednesday on Washington's proposed list of Chinese goods subject to additional 25 percent tariffs based on the investigation of the so-called Section 301.

"We call on the relevant parties to ensure WTO compliance of their trade actions. We will analyze the measures being taken in terms of their WTO compatibility," Rosario told Xinhua.

According to the spokesman, the EU has noticed the U.S. action against China under Section 301 and has been closely following the investigations since they were launched in August 2017.

Rosario also underlined the importance of the role of the WTO in dealing with trade differences.

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