The ongoing trade conflict between Washington and Beijing may escalate into a full-fledged commercial cold war, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned during a World Trade Organization (WTO) conference.
Speaking in Paris during an opening ceremony of a meeting on the future of the WTO, Le Maire branded the decision of US President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on Chinese goods as “stupid” and said European nations will not be collateral victims of the conflict.
Face à cette situation, la bonne réponse est le nouveau multilatéralisme. Il doit être lucide, moderne, en prenant en compte la lutte contre le réchauffement climatique et la question des données. Et il doit être juste, en reposant sur la réciprocité #WTOfuture
— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) November 16, 2018
The French official called on the international trade arbiter to overcome a “consensus paralysis” that pesters its decision-making process and suggested the WTO should make fighting global climate change part of its agenda. He also said a more just taxation system is needed to make competition between countries fairer.
The US and China have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and may engage in further escalation of the trade war, unless they manage to reach a deal. Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are expected to discuss differences between the two nations during an upcoming G20 meeting in Argentina later this month.
The US is reportedly bracing for a prolonged strategic confrontation with China, unless Beijing alters its policies in many areas, including trade, copyright protection, military posture and political activities.
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