UNITED NATIONS: A United Nations expert has warned that a US plan to raise tariffs on Chinese goods next month would have “massive” implications for the global economy unless it is resolved.
US President Donald Trump has placed tariffs on nearly half of all goods that are imported from China as he tries to force Beijing to change what he claims are unfair trade practices, including the forced sharing of technology.
Unless the US and Chinese agree to drop their tariff dispute by 1 March, duty on each country’s products will rise to 25 per cent, up from the current 10 per cent level.
Of the $250 billion in Chinese exports that are subject to US tariffs, only about six per cent will be picked up by firms in the United States, according to a report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
And of the approximately $85 billion in US exports that are subject to China’s tariffs, only about five per cent of this will be taken up by Chinese firms, the UN research shows.
The report said Asian countries are likely to suffer most from protectionism.
The implications are going to be massive,” Pamela Coke-Hamilton, UNCTAD’s head of international trade, said at a news conference in Geneva on Monday.
“The implications for the entire international trading system will be significantly negative.”
Smaller and poorer countries would struggle to cope with the external shocks, she said.
UNCTAD’s report estimates that east Asian producers will be hit the hardest, with a projected $160 billion contraction in the region’s exports. But it warns the effects could be felt everywhere.
“There’ll be currency wars and devaluation, stagflation leading to job losses and higher unemployment and more importantly, the possibility of a contagion effect, or what we call a reactionary effect, leading to a cascade of other trade distortionary measures,” Ms Coke-Hamilton said.
The report also cautions that the effects “are consistent across different sectors” including machinery, furniture, chemicals and precision instruments, noting that bilateral tariffs “would do little to help protect domestic firms in their respective markets”.
Quoting former US Secretary of State Cordell Hull, UNCTAD’s Pamela Coke-Hamilton repeated his description of protective tariffs as “a gun that recoils on ourselves”, which had also contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s and the rise of extremism.
“I think that is a single lesson from what we have had here today,” Ms. Coke Hamilton said. “If – barring an agreement between US China on 1 March – tariffs will escalate to 25 per cent, which is a significant difference from the 10 per cent as it currently exists.”
The implications of such a development would be “massive”, the UNCTAD Director, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, continued, adding that its effects would first of all involve “an economic downturn due to instability in commodities and financial markets”.
Next, Ms. Coke-Hamilton said, there would be “increased pressure on global growth, as companies will have to impose adjustment costs which will affect productivity investment and profitability”.
Countries that are expected to benefit the most from the trade war are European Union members; the UN study indicates that exports in the bloc are likely to grow by $70 billion. Japan and Canada, meanwhile, will see exports increase by more than $20 billion each.
Although these figures do not represent a large slice of global trade – which was worth $17 trillion in 2017 – for some countries, like Mexico, the increase in exports will amount to a six per cent rise in exports overall.
Other countries set to benefit from the trade tensions – which erupted in early 2018, when China and the US imposed tariffs worth around $50 billion on each other’s goods – include Australia, with 4.6 per cent export gains, Brazil (3.8) India (3.5), Philippines (3.2) and Viet Nam (5).
But the UNCTAD study also warns that the spat could hit East Asian producers the hardest, with a projected $160 billion contraction in the region’s exports unless discussions between China and the US are resolved before the March deadline.
The study also underlines the “common concern” that trade disputes have an unavoidable impact on the “still fragile” global economy, particularly on developing, commodity-rich countries that are dependent on exports.
“One major concern is the risk that trade tensions could spiral into currency wars, making dollar-denominated debt more difficult to service,” the report adds.
Iran favors $5b trade volume with Pakistan
TEHRAN: Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Reza Rahmani called for raising the volume of trade exchanges with Pakistan to $5 billion by 2021.
Addressing a ceremony marking Pakistan Day in Tehran on Wednesday, he hoped the goal will be materialized by establishing banking ties and finalization of free trade memorandum of understanding.
He said that Iran and Pakistan boast of numerous commonalities in various sphere including religion, culture and history.
“Iran-Pakistan ties as old as the country’s independence and the two regional big countries’ relations have always been friendly and excellent,” he said.
Iran was the first country which recognized independence of Pakistan and established embassy in Islamabad, Rahmani said, describing Pakistan as major gateway for Iran to enter to the East.
“Iran is also a country with numerous economic potentials,” he said, noting that Iran’s economy and market will not be ignored by the economic activists and political officials.
The two countries are able to develop collaboration in the fields of agriculture, foodstuff, tourism, pharmaceuticals and sports.
Ceremony marking Pakistan National Day attended by diplomats from certain countries including France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Cuba, Armenia and Palestine was held in Tehran.
Tokyo bourse opens modestly higher
TOKYO: The bourse opened here marginally higher today with help from a cheaper yen, but investors were cautious ahead of Easter holidays on overseas markets.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.05 percent or 11.42 points at 22,289.39, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.09 percent or 1.48 points at 1,632.16.
Bahawalpur: FOB compiles reports for reforms
BAHAWALPUR: The Secretary, Federal Ombudsman Secretariat and National Commissioner on Children have said that the office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib had compiled reports to recommend recommendations to bring reforms to address maladministration in government departments.
Secretary, Federal Ombudsman Secretariat, Dr. Jamal Nasir and Senior Advisor/ National Commissioner For Children, Ejaz Ahmed Qureshi were addressing a news conference at the regional office of Wafaqi Mohtasib here in Bahawalpur.
They said that following the Swedish ombudsman system, the office of Ombudsman was established in Pakistan to ensure the provision of relief to people in connection with their complaints against federal government departments.
They said that during the last few years, the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib disposed of 75,000 complaints/cases. “Most of the complaints were registered against Wapda, electric companies, Sui Southern and Sui northern gas companies and National Data Registration Authority.
They said that with reviewing the registered complaints, the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat had also been compiling reports to recommend recommendations for bringing reforms in federal government departments and agencies to address the issue of maladministration and corruption.
They said that the office of Federal Ombudsman had also powers to listen to complaints against National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
They, however, said that if applications/petitions were submitted in courts against NAB and FIA, then the courts would listen to those cases and would dispose of them.
They said that the Federal Ombudsman had powers of the judge of Supreme Court and he could take suo moto notice against any federal government departments and agencies. “The Federal Ombudsman after founding negligence of officials of federal departments can recommend inquiry and other departmental actions against them,” they said.
They said that 13 offices of the Federal Ombudsman were working in the country including Bahawalpur office which could listen to complaints against federal departments and agencies lodged by people of Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Lodhran and Bahawalnagar.
They said that Bahawalpur and other neighboring districts had populations in millions, adding that but, the average number of registered complaints with the local office of the Federal Ombudsman in Bahawalpur was 100 per month. They requested the media to highlight the importance and role of Federal Ombudsman so that maximum number of people could move to the local office of Federal Ombudsman in Bahawalpur to get relief on issues and problems pertaining to federal government and departments.
Meanwhile, according to a report issued by the Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Regional Office Bahawalpur, 624 applications/complaints were registered against federal government agencies including Multan Electric Company (MEPCO), Pakistan Post Office (PPO), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL), State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLICP) and others. The Bahawalpur office of Wafaqi Mohtasib had disposed of 602 of them.