IMF’s Lagarde to Trump: No Winner in Trade War
The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said that nobody wins in a trade war and that the macro-economic impact of U.S. tariffs on imports would be serious if other countries respond with tariffs of their own.
“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.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated his plan to slap big tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, warning the European Union it would get hit with a “big tax” for not treating the United States well when it comes to trade.
“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.
“We recommend an agreement between the different parties, and talks, talks,” she said.
However, she indicated that Trump might have a case for threatening to slap tariffs on some imports, saying there were a few good reasons to protest against the current situation.
“There are some countries in the world that do not necessarily respect the World Trade Organisation agreements, and which impose technology transfers. China is a case in point but it is not the only country with such practices,” she said.
Meanwhile, China, the world’s second biggest economy fuelled fears of a trade war when it warned recently that it is ready to hit back at the United States if it harms its economic interests.
It was China’s first response since President Donald Trump unveiled steel and aluminium tariffs.
Trump’s announcement on Thursday sparked a flurry of counter-threats from other nations but its main trade rival, China, had avoided any overt warnings of potential retaliation until now.
“China doesn’t want a trade war with the United States,” Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People’s Congress, told a news conference on Sunday, the eve of the rubber-stamp parliament’s annual session.
“But if the US takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly by and will take necessary measures.”
Zhang warned that “policies informed by misjudgement or wrong perceptions will hurt relations and bring consequences no side wants to see”.
Trump’s announcement came as President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide, Liu He, met with US officials at the White House this week to discuss the fraught economic relationship.