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Growing menace to int’l trade

Feb 14,2019 - Last updated at Feb 14,2019

The lingering discord between the US and China over their trade relations risks undermining not only their own bilateral relations, but also international trade and commerce worldwide.

President Donald Trump has decided to up the ante by setting March 1 as the deadline for reaching an agreement with Beijing on their trade relations or else apply punitive tariffs on Chinese exports to his country to the tune of hundreds of billions of US dollars.

This growing menace to international trade is causing panic and jitters in international markets, including the international stock markets, to the extent that the International Monetary Fund is now predicting a recession worldwide if trade relations between major industrial nations remain tense and on the threshold of igniting trade wars.

There was a time not in the distant past when the personal relations between Trump and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping were warm and promising enough to overcome any obstacles between their countries that may appear along the way.

It so happens that President Xi has strong leverage with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with whom President Trump is scheduled to hold a summit on February 28 in Vietnam. Any success story that could emerge between President Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim may very well depend on the support that President Xi may offer for a breakthrough on bilateral relations between the US and North Korea.

Presidents Trump and Xi are called upon, therefore, to settle their disputes, real or otherwise, in a conciliatory spirit that can do service to international peace and harmony. In either case, the two economic giants must refrain from using trade and commerce as tools to prosecute their own global interests. Developing countries would be the first to lose and suffer through no fault of their own.

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