Turning away from globalization? Trade wars and the rules of competition in global trade: Implications for the EU

March 27, 2020

The trade war between the U.S. and China began in March 2018. The American side raised import duties on aluminum and steel from China, which were later extended to other countries, including Canada, Mexico and the EU member states. This drew a negative reaction from those countries and bilateral negotiations with the U.S. In June 2018 America, referring to Section 301 of its 1974 Trade Act, raised tariffs to 25% on 818 groups of products imported from China, arguing that the tariff increase was a response to years of theft of American intellectual property and dishonest trade practices, which has caused the U.S. trade deficit.

Will this trade war mean the collapse of the multilateral trading system and a transition to bilateral relationships? What are the possibilities for increasing tariffs in light of World Trade Organization rules? Can the conflict be resolved using the WTO dispute-resolution mechanism? What are the consequences of the trade war for American consumers and producers, and for suppliers from other countries? How high will tariffs climb as a result of a global trade war? How far can trade volumes and GDP fall if the worst-case scenario comes to pass? Professor Jan J. Michałek and Dr. Przemysław Woźniak give answers to these questions in the mBank-CASE Seminar Proceeding No. 161.