LONDON, March 4 — Trade wars are bad and hard to win, one of Theresa May’s most senior ministers said, in a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s proposed 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and his assertion such battles are good.
“I just think that the US is not taking an advisable course in threatening a trade war,” UK Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said today on the BBC. “Trade wars don’t do anybody any good.”
Trump’s latest action is a particular embarrassment to the prime minister, who spent significant political capital in 2017 getting close to the president in the hope that she could secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the US
Lidington said UK’s experience over decades was that protectionism wasn’t the war to help domestic industries. “We tried in Britain in the 60s and 70s protecting our car industry from competition,” he said. “It actually didn’t work. It protected inefficiencies, we lost all our export markets because our competitors who were more competitive went out and gobbled those up from us.”
He expressed doubt that Trump’s proposal would go ahead. “There was a lot of concern recently about something comparable as regards aviation and the aircraft that were being produced in part by Bombardier, at Belfast in Northern Ireland and the American authorities at the end of the day struck that down,” he said. — Bloomberg
Source: The Malay Mail Online