IMF: Nobody wins a trade war

IMF: Nobody wins a trade war
Christine Lagarde said there are losers on both sides in a trade war driven by reciprocal increases of import tariffs.

paris - The economic impact of US import tariffs would be serious if other countries respond with their own barriers, says Lagarde

No one emerges victorious from a trade war, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday, warning that the economic impact of US import tariffs would be serious if other countries respond with their own barriers.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump reiterated his plan to slap big tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, warning the European Union it would get hit with a "big tax" for failing to treat the United States well over trade matters.

"The macro-economic impact would be serious, not only if the United States took action, but especially if other countries were to retaliate, notably those who would be most affected, such as Canada, Europe and Germany in particular," Lagarde said on French radio RTL.

Trump's comments have sparked cries of foul play from US trading partners and warnings from US lawmakers and businesses of the potential for a tit-for-tat trade war that could hurt the US economy. Trump has said the United States could win such a war, since it was running such a large trade deficit.

"In a so-called trade war, driven by reciprocal increases of import tariffs, nobody wins, one generally finds losers on both sides," Lagarde said, adding that she hoped that Trump would not implement the tariffs threat.

Trump's top economic advisor Gary Cohn, seen as a voice for Wall Street in the White House, said he would resign after he lost the fight against Trump over the tariffs.

The EU executive was expected to discuss potential retaliation measures on Wednesday. It has drawn up a list of US products from bourbon to Harley Davidson motorbikes on which to apply tariffs if Trump follows imposes tariffs.

French European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau the EU would raise the tariff threat with the WTO. "We are not happy about this," Loiseau told Radio Classique. "Europe can no longer afford to be naive and passive faced with this aggressive protectionism," she said.

Lagarde indicated that Trump might have a case for threatening tariffs, saying there were "a few good reasons" to protest against the current situation. "There are some countries that do not respect the WTO agreements, and which impose technology transfers. China is a case in point but it is not the only country with such practices," she said. - Reuters

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