If trade war breaks out, stand and watch

If trade war breaks out, stand and watch

US President Donald Trump’s move to impose(लगाना) tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminium, in the name of protecting domestic industry from unfair(अनुचित/अन्यायी) trade, is a bad idea. It will raise costs for US industries that rely on steel and aluminium use, from carmakers to construction, hurting shareholders and consumers. Then, there is the risk of a trade war. Already, China, the world’s biggest producer of steel, Canada and the EU have threatened(धमकी दी/जी छोटा करना) to consider retaliatory measures against the US, and this could hurt a wide variety of US exports. A better and more rational(विचारशील/विवेकशील) way would be for these countries to approach the WTO. India, which is a minor exporter of the two metals(धातुओं), should wait and watch. ET’s columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar suggests that if an anti-US trade coalition gathers force in multilateral forums such as the WTO, India should unobtrusively join that crowd(जनसमूह/भीड़), and make sure it does not stand out. A guarded(संरक्षित) response makes eminent(प्रख्यात/विख्यात) sense.

A formal complaint at the WTO would hold only if the import tariffs on steel and aluminium breach(उल्लंघन) the so-called bound rates (or ceilings) that the US has committed(प्रतिबद्ध/सौंपना) to at the WTO. There will be clarity only when the US comes out with the list of items that would attract steep tariffs. The WTO represents a strong rule-based multilateral(बहुपक्षीय) framework, meant to ensure smooth trade flows. For example, based on a WTO ruling in 2003, the US removed safeguard duties imposed on imported steel by President George W Bush. Reportedly, the US is now blocking the appointment of members of the WTO’s appellate body that could render(प्रस्तुत करना/लौटाना) it incapable of hearing and resolving trade disputes(विवादों/विचार-विमर्श). The seven-member dispute-resolution body has only four members, and if the number dips to two, it cannot function. This goes against the tenet(सिद्धांत) of multilateralism.Protectionism(संरक्षणवाद) in the US not with standing, the rest of the world should desist from similar moves. But India is sliding towards protection ostensibly(जाहिरा तौर पर/प्रकट रूप से) to encourage Make in India. Raising tariff walls is not the right way to boost efficient(कुशल/योग्य) manufacturing.

Important Vocabulary

1.Rational(विचारशील
Synonyms: analytical, balanced, deliberate, enlightened, impartial
Antonyms: careless, confused, foolish, idiotic, illogical

2.Eminent(प्रख्यात/विख्यात)
Synonyms: big-name, distinguished, esteemed, famed, high-ranking
Antonyms: common, inconspicuous, inferior, insignificant, obscure

3.Disputes(विवादों)
Synonyms: bickering, brawl, conflict, controversy, debate
Antonyms: accord, agreement, calm, concord, concurrence

4.Efficient(कुशल)
Synonyms: able, active, adequate, capable, competent
Antonyms: delicate, fragile, idle, impotent, inactive

5.Threatened(धमकी दी)
Synonyms: exposed, vulnerable, imperiled, jeopardized, warned
Antonyms: guarded, protected, safe, invulnerable

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