India should play a proactive role in defusing the emerging possibilities of a global trade war that can derail the positive outlook in the world trade, FICCI said today.

The industry body observed that protectionist measures by the US have raised serious concerns about a global trade war, highlighting the importance of keeping the World Trade Organisation (WTO) process intact and also making the multilateral institution stronger.

Moreover, with the WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo raising alarm on the issue at the two-day mini-ministerial in New Delhi early this week, it is high time countries across the world think beyond retaliatory measures to counter the challenges posed by the targeting of the WTO by the US and unilateral increase in tariffs, FICCI said.

“India can play a significant role in guiding this exercise to defuse the emerging possibilities of a global trade war that can derail the positive outlook in the world trade,” said Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI.

Strengthening WTO

Shah noted that by turning the mini-ministerial into a platform for ‘meeting of minds’, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has shown that India can lead the way in bringing all countries together to find a way out and avoid fuelling of a trade war due to the US actions.

It is important to keep the WTO process going and also making the multilateral institution stronger so that a rule-based global trade is ensured and bilateral issues have an effective platform for resolution, Shah said. “India’s growing acceptance as an important nation in facilitating constructive deliberations among the countries with diverging interests must be capitalised to strengthen the WTO,” he added.

Concerns over a global trade resurfaced after US President Donald Trump yesterday imposed USD 60 billion of tariffs on Chinese imports to punish the country for its “unfair” seizure of American intellectual property, a move that could escalate the already tense trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

In response to Trump’s move, China unveiled plans today to impose higher tariffs on USD 3 billion worth of American goods, including pork and pipes, in retaliation to US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Beijing, authorities said.

The measures suspending tariff concessions will target 128 US products including pork, wines and seamless steel tubes, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.