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Editorial: U.S. foreign policy of resorting to higher tariffs is unacceptable

U.S. President Donald Trump has been threatening major economies with the idea of introducing higher tariffs to resolve economic and diplomatic problems by force. The approach provokes their anger and prompts them to resort to retaliatory action. This negative chain reaction must be severed.

 

The U.S. has announced that it will impose additional tariffs on Mexican products across the board. The policy is set to be enforced from June 10, and the rate of additional tariffs will be gradually increased from 5% to 25%.

 

The U.S. claims that Mexico’s insufficient efforts to stem the outflow of illegal immigrants are putting the safety and lives of American people at risk. President Trump probably wants to stir up the support base of the ruling Republican Party since he is up for re-election in 2020.

 

The U.S. gave consideration to Mexico and Canada since they agreed to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and lifted the high tariffs it had imposed on their steel and aluminum products. The announcement of additional tariffs was made in the wake of this development. Mexico has adopted a hard-line stance and is poised to take countermeasures.

 

Mexico is the second largest source of U.S. imports after China. The introduction of additional tariffs will impact not only Mexico and China but also the global economy. It is no exaggeration to say that the measure is extremely dangerous.

 

It is true that the massive inflow of immigrants to the U.S. from Central America via Mexico should not be left unaddressed. The U.S. and Mexico need to take steps, such as combating poverty and addressing political instability in the immigrants’ home countries, with the cooperation of the international community.

 

It is unacceptable for the U.S. to avoid making steady efforts to address the situation and take self-centered measures instead. The U.S. must immediately cancel the plan to impose additional tariffs on Mexico and address the problem via dialogue.  

 

The trade war between the U.S. and China has also become bogged down. On June 1, China will impose additional tariffs on U.S. goods worth $60 billion as a new countermeasure against the U.S.

 

The game of tit-for-tat between the U.S, and China is not limited to additional tariffs. The U.S. has effectively banned exports of U.S. products to Huawei, a Chinese telecommunication giant. China on the other hand is hinting at restricting shipments of rare-earth metals.

 

If U.S.-China tensions escalate, the global economy could take a significant hit. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping should keep each other in check and explore ways to ease tensions.

 

The U.S. has put off making a decision on whether to raise tariffs on auto imports from major countries until mid-November, but there are lingering concerns that the U.S. may use this as a tool to threaten Japan and European nations in trade negotiations. The view that increased auto imports pose a “threat to national security” is absolutely unacceptable. 

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