Director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevedo warned on Monday that US President Donald Trump’s decision to place stiff tariffs on aluminum and steel imports could lead the world into a “deep recession”.
Last week Trump announced the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on EU exports of steel and 10 percent on aluminum, adding that similar restrictions would be imposed on other global exporters. The move immediately prompted a storm of international criticism, with US key allies like the European Union and Canada threatening to retaliate if the plan is implemented.
Azevedo called on Trump to reverse the course, saying that there is a real risk of plunging into a new trade war that could result in a ‘deep’ global recession.
“We cannot ignore this risk and I urge all parties to consider and reflect on this situation very carefully. Once we start down this path, it will be very difficult to reverse direction,” the WTO chief said in a statement on Monday. “An eye for an eye will leave us all blind, and the world in deep recession. (We) must make every effort to avoid the fall of the first dominoes.”
The US President is also facing resistance from politicians in his own country, with a number of Republican politicians typically in Trump’s camp speaking out against the initiative. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top ranking Republican in the legislative body, has urged Trump not to proceed with the plan.
“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” Ryan’s spokesperson, Ashlee Strong, said. “The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”
But members of Trump’s administration say they don’t believe the President will back down, despite the international and domestic pressure.
“The President has announced that this will happen this week. I have no reason to think otherwise,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told NBC on Sunday.