Trade tensions between the United States and some of its biggest trading partners continue to escalate on the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs.
China said Donald Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese exports threatens to wipe out recent progress made in trade talks between Beijing and Washington.
The latest round of negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies ended on Sunday with China making it clear that it would not deliver on commitments to buy more American goods if its exports are sanctioned.
Meanwhile, finance ministers of France and Canada have expressed concerns over the U.S steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on Friday. Le Maire, France’s finance and economy minister, called Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs unjustified according to an itv report.
Le Maire’s remark was noted following a whistler meeting of G7 finance ministers in Canada, where he said the summit had been “more a G6 plus one than a G7”.
The report indicated that ministers confronted Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary, but Mnuchin dismissed the narrative of “G6 plus one”, saying “We believe in the G7, it’s an important group”
The dispute which is over Donald Trump’s new levies on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, consequently prompts threats of retaliatory action.
According to Le Maire“We regret that our common work together at the level of the G7 has been put at risk by the decisions taken by the American administration on trade and on tariffs.”
Canada specifically called Trump’s decision to impose aluminum and steel tariffs on America’s closest allies — Canada, Mexico and the European Union — an insult.
“Please think hard about the message you’re sending to your closest allies,” Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland told CNN on Sunday.
The European Union has slammed Trump for “pure protectionism” and readied tariffs on bourbon, motorcycles and dozens of other American products. Mexico has also announced it would place tariffs on American exports.
The US president has said the tariffs are needed to protect US steel and aluminium industries vital to the nation’s security.
Bill Morneau, Canadian finance minister, who presided over the ministerial meeting in Whistler, has also called the tariffs “absurd”, saying Canadian metal sales are no security risk to the US.
Morneau warns the measures will destroy jobs on both sides of the border.
Morneau however issued a summary after the G7 summit saying the other six members want Donald Trump to hear their message of “concern and disappointment” over the US trade actions.
Leaders of the group’s (G7) member countries will meet next week in Quebec as ministers urged the US to abandon the tariffs ahead of the leaders’ summit to prevent deeper divisions.
Next week’s summit will be Trump’s first visit to Canada as United State’s president.
The United States has been singled out by some of its closest allies over the imposition of tariffs that they warn will undermine open trade and weaken confidence in the global economy.
Meanwhile, Beijing has warned Washington that any deals they produce “will not take effect” if President Trump’s threatened tariff hike on Chinese goods goes ahead.
The US has renewed a threat to hike tariffs on $50 billion (£37 billion) of Chinese high-tech goods in response to American complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
Frontpage December 13, 2018