As trade war steps up, WTO already dealing with hundreds of disputes

As trade war steps up, WTO already dealing with hundreds of disputes

As trade war steps up, WTO already dealing with hundreds of disputes

Beijing says the whole world will retaliate if Washington sticks with its aggressive trade policy.

Investors are trying to gauge the economic risks from Trump's mission to reduce the $552-billion US trade deficit by imposing tariffs on foreign goods.

China's garment industry has been under pressure for some time, as the global supply chain has shifted to low-priced manufacturing bases in Southeast Asia.

Top Republicans and the White House have looked to dismiss fears about trade by suggesting the short-term pain is needed for long-term gain. "We're starting to hear concerns from USA businesses in China that suddenly they're going to be facing more serious inspections on environment and perhaps labor".

Tusk spoke after meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as part of an annual EU-China summit that opened against the backdrop of the growing China-US economic confrontation and wider global trade discord.

USA media reported earlier that sellers of the "Make America Great Again" caps - which are available, among other places, via the United States president's official website - were stockpiling them while they waited for a decision on the tariffs. The Chinese far-left government in Beijing resorted to placing tariffs on American products. "China has been very clear that it will use and is using qualitative as well as quantitative measures, to use their terminology", he said.

"What makes them nervous is once you lose these markets, they're going to be hard to get back", he said.

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China on Tuesday refuted USA accusations that it has violated WTO rules, saying it would continue to abide by them, and calling on the United States to respect and obey WTO rules.

Before the 2016 USA presidential election, the company manufactured a "considerable volume" of "Make America Great Again" caps, but no longer sells Trump-related apparel.

The US' consultations requests were not yet publicly available at press time, though a Geneva trade official confirmed that they should be released at some point this week.

Echoing that view, WTO Communications Director Keith Rockwell said "the multilateral trading system was created specifically for moments like this". "Of course, we will need to reassess our markets if it continues".

That could also backfire by causing an outflow of funds from the country, and because China is no longer merely seeking to profit from cheap exports but wants to move to an economy driven by domestic demand and production of more advanced goods. "But the impact is more spread out with regard to the goods coming into the USA, increasing costs for consumers, but also for US production that has to buy inputs for its manufacturing", he added.

Mr Wan Zhe, chief economist of International Cooperation Centre with the National Development and Reform Commission, said the real intention of the USA government initiating trade conflicts with other countries is to distract attention from its internal contradictions, such as the wealth gap and job losses. China has cut vehicle tariffs drastically.

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