China hits back in trade dispute with US

The Chinese government introduced tariffs of between 15 and 25 percent on 128 products from the US on Monday. The move is widely regarded as a reaction to the US's tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium exports. China's countermeasures highlight the dangers Trump's trade policy entails for the global economy, commentators write, and call on Europe to take a stand.

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Die Welt (DE) /

No winners in trade wars

Europe must finally start to play a constructive role, Die Welt demands:

“So far everything we have heard from Brussels and Berlin has been rather pathetic: hopes of collateral agreements with Washington or that Trump's sabre-rattling at China might do some good after all. Or that the EU could lower the high customs duties on car imports. But the fact that this quaint proposal could seriously be stylised - at least in Germany - as the patent formula against the most dangerous trade dispute in more than 80 years shows just how helpless Europe is in this conflict. There can be no simple solution. And whatever the solution is, it will have to include making clear to the American president one way or another that as a rule there are no winners in a trade war.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Not just China in the line of fire

Trump is not just taking aim at China, Corriere del Ticino warns:

“China is the main enemy but not the only one. The Sword of Damocles is hanging over all countries, but above all those that have a trade surplus with the US. In terms of goods alone Switzerland had a trade surplus of 14 billion dollars last year. That means our country, which already has to pay tariffs on steel and aluminium, is just as vulnerable to Trump's protectionism. ... The EU, which economically is at least as important as the US, must decide what course to take vis-à-vis Trump. Does it want to do everything it can to be exempted from the tariffs or will it support an international initiative aimed at an opening of the markets?”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Risk of escalation growing

The US president's hard line poses a growing threat to the global economy, comments La Vanguardia:

“China has made it known that it hopes the US will abandon its aggressive protectionism soon and go back to following the rules of the World Trade Organisation, and that tensions between the two economic giants will be resolved through negotiations. That's how it should be. But for the US, and above all for its president, it's crucial to establish a new bartering system that allows it to correct the trade imbalance with China, and this is why Trump is playing hardball. Everything indicates that as long as the negotiations between Beijing and Washington fail to bear fruit, the risk of an escalation in the tensions, with grave consequences for the global economy, is evident.”