Roundup: Experts fret Africa to suffer from U.S. tariff hikes

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-17 16:45:15|Editor: xuxin
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NAIROBI, May 17 (Xinhua) -- African countries and global trade would suffer should the U.S.-China trade tensions continue, analysts here have said.

"If the ongoing attempts to conduct negotiations ... between the two largest economies in the world fail, certainly Africa and the rest of the world will be affected," Gerishon Ikiara, an economics lecturer at the University of Nairobi, told Xinhua on Thursday.

Possible consequences include disrupted global trade and dampened global growth, as well as increasing job losses, decreasing incomes and dwindling foreign investment, especially in African countries, according to Ikiara and other experts.

In the latest flare-up of U.S.-China trade tensions, Washington increased additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent earlier this month, and has threatened to raise tariffs on more Chinese imports.

In response, China has announced that it will raise additional tariffs on a range of U.S. imports from June 1, and "will fight to the end."

Edward Kusewa, an economics lecturer at St. Paul's University, said that the trade row would further destabilize the global market system since the United States and China are key trading countries in the world.

The trade disputes would certainly dampen the global trade outlook for 2019, Kusewa said, adding that Washington's protectionist measures against China would end up hurting African countries and disturbing the global value chain systems.

The U.S. tariff hikes would likely reduce China's exports to America, and that would in turn cut the imports the Asian nation buys from Africa, he said, noting that many products China exports to America are manufactured with materials imported from Africa.

"Given that China is a significant buyer of goods in the international market, the price of commodities is also likely to reduce and this could cut the economic growth not only for African states but also for other countries that trade with it," said Kusewa.

Commenting on the widespread worries about global economic uncertainties incurred by recent tariff hikes, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang reiterated Wednesday that escalating trade tensions "serve no one's interests" and will "tie down the world economy as well."

He called on the United States, which started the row, to carefully weigh its gains and losses, get back on the right track as soon as possible, and meet China halfway in achieving a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect.

The Kenyan experts said they are optimistic that China and the United States will ultimately resolve the issue, given "the importance of each other's markets for their own economic growth and socio-political stability."