Spanish intellectuals criticize Trump for provoking trade war
MADRID, April 1 (Xinhua) -- A possible trade war between the United States and the rest of the world will threaten the World Trade Organization (WTO) mechanism, damage the entire world economy and lead to serious negative consequences to the U.S. itself, according to Spanish intellectuals.
U.S. President Donald Trump's recent announcements on imposing tariffs on the import of steel and aluminum sparked fears and criticism among the Spanish intellectuals.
The unilateral actions of protectionism that President Trump took caused direct impact on the economy of the European Union. For instance, the Spanish stock market, Ibex-35 stock index, suffered losses for four consecutive days, taking the market down to its lowest level in 13 months.
Trump's irresponsible acts have been widely criticized by Spanish medias and scholars.
Claudi Perez, head of the Spanish newspaper EL PAIS delegation in Brussels, compared Trump's behavior with the tense situation in history. "The thirties witnessed a massive collapse of international cooperation in trade, which made the Great Depression worse."
He pointed out that Donald Trump has returned to the old way, implying that it won't make any difference from the 1930s.
Speaking to Xinhua recently, Gayle Allard, Professor of Economic Environment and Country Analysis at IE Business School in Madrid, highlighted the dangers presented by Trump. "Free trade had been a key source of rising incomes and prosperity in the postwar world. Trade wars are usually the worst way to address trade disputes."
Professor Allard also warned that the WTO "which is a key foundation of growing world trade and prosperity" could be weakened by Trump as a result.
Federico Steinberg, Professor of the Department of Economic Analysis of the Autonomous University of Madrid, commented that "The decision makes clear that the U.S. has no interest in resolving trade issues through multilateral dialogue and that, from now on, it will adopt a more openly aggressive unilateralism. Trump's announcement was like a torpedo broadsiding the global trade system, opening a Pandora's box."
"The invocation of the national security clause puts the WTO in a delicate situation and reveals that the Trump Administration will not hesitate to undermine global governance," Professor Steinberg added.
On the other hand, almost nobody doubts about European Union's trade retaliation and its impact back to the United States.
"One out of every six cars exported from Europe goes to the United States; but one in every five cars that the United States exports comes to Europe," Claudi Perez wrote in his recent article, indicating the potential damage the United States would suffer if the trade war goes into that sector.
Maria Tejero Martin, correspondent of the EFE Agency wrote that "If EU gives in to Trump, he will take the risk of throwing gas at his internal populists. And that can be more dangerous than a tariff." Implying that EU has no choice but to strike back.
Jan Martinez Ahrens, Deputy director of the newspaper EL PAIS, commented that "The resistance is right now within the White House. The abrupt return of Donald Trump to economic nationalism and his commitment to a tariff war has clashed with Wall Street, the Republican Party and his own cabinet."
What's more, some scholars don't think that the trade war would help Trump achieve his goal anyway.
Professor Allard explained to Xinhua that "trade deficits and surpluses are truly determined by the level of consumption within the country," thus "a high consuming country like the United States will end up with deficits. Trump's tax cuts will make U.S. overconsumption worse and the U.S. deficit will grow, despite any measures he takes to restrict imports."
"The commercial agreements are very stupid, according to what Donald Trump said. But commercial wars are even more stupid," concluded Claudi Perez.