Wednesday, 17 July 2019

EU urges big powers to avert trade ‘conflict and chaos’

BRUSSELS: The European Union called Monday on the United States, China and Russia to work together to cool worsening global trade tensions, warning that they could spiral into violent “conflict and chaos.”

The comments from EU Council President Donald Tusk comes as Washington and Beijing stand on the brink of an all-out trade war many fear could hammer the global economy, while the US has also picked fights with allies in Europe and Canada.

“It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history,” Tusk said in Beijing.

“There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos.”

Tusk spoke after meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as part of an annual EU-China summit that opened against the backdrop of the deepening global trade discord.

The EU – the world’s biggest single market with 28 countries and 500 million people – is trying to buttress alliances in the face of the protectionism unleashed by US President Donald Trump’s “America First” administration.

The meeting between Chinese and European officials in Beijing, which also included European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, comes as Trump prepared to hold talks in Helsinki with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Trump sprinkled further spice on the rising rancour in a interview aired Sunday in which he labelled the EU, Russia and China as “foes” of the United States.

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