Dangerous Spiral: On Global Trade War “-

The global trade war is hotting up as major economies continue to impose tariffs on each other. India is the latest to join the tit-for-tat battle by slapping tariffs as high as 50% on a list of 30 goods imported from the U.S. Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he had ordered his administration to frame new tariffs on $200-billion worth of Chinese imports. This was in retaliation to tariffs on $50- billion worth in American goods imposed by China last week in response to Mr. Trump’s earlier round of tariffs on Chinese goods. The first shot in the spiralling trade war was fired by the U.S. in March when Mr. Trump unveiled tariffs to discourage the import of steel and aluminium into the country. The latest round of tariffs imposed by the U.S. will be the highest in terms of the value of goods. In all, U.S. tariffs will now affect Chinese goods worth $450 billion — to put this in perspective, total Chinese imports into the U.S. last year were worth around $500 billion. The European Union also joined the trade war this month, imposing tariffs on $3.3 billion of American goods. While the India-U.S. tariff tiff could escalate, the amounts being discussed right now are minuscule compared to those under threat in the unfoldingU.S.-China situation or even the spat between the U.S. and the EU. India’s notification to the WTO says that U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium would cost India $241 million, and that the tariffs imposed on the U.S. would bring in a commensurate amount. It has also indicated its preference to deal with the issue through dialogue, and not “measures and counter-measures”. For long, global financial markets largely ignored risks of an all-out trade war among major economies, but things are changing quickly. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by as much as 1.6% on Tuesday, while the Shenzhen Composite Index was down 5.8% for the day. This fresh round of volatilitysuggests investors may be beginning to take threats of a trade war more seriously. The fact is that all sides engaged in a trade war eventually lose. The longer it goes on, the greater the cost as growth slows down under the increasing burden of taxes. The only gainers in a trade war will be special interest groups, such as the U.S. steel industry, which also happens to be a major vote bank for Mr. Trump. Even retaliatory tariffs aimed at pushing backthe U.S. may only perpetuate the vicious negative-sum game instead of bringing the war to an end. Mr. Trump’s rejection of the G-7 communique that endorsed a “rules-based trading system” for the world suggests there may be no offer of truce from his side any time soon. Nevertheless, global powers must try their best to bring an end to the ongoing trade war before it gets out of hand.



Hotting up

Meaning: If an event or situation hots up, it becomes more exciting and more things start to happen.

Example: The competition is really hotting up now.

Synonyms: Intensify, Increase


Meaning: The infliction of an injury or insult in return for one that one has suffered.

Example: “the conflict staggered on with tit-for-tat assassinations”

Synonyms: Retaliation, Reprisal


Meaning: Impose a fine or other penalty on.

Example: “the government had slapped an embargo on imports”

Synonyms: Impose, Levy


Meaning: To hurt someone or do something harmful to someone because they have done or said something harmful to you.

Example: If someone insults you, don’t retaliate as it only makes the situation worse.

Synonyms: Revenge, Vengefulness


Meaning: Show a continuous and dramatic increase.

Example: “inflation continued to spiral”

Synonyms: Soar, Escalate

Antonyms: Fall


Meaning: Show or announce publicly for the first time.

Example: “the Home Secretary has unveiled plans to crack down on crime”

Synonyms: Reveal, Present


Meaning: Require (a duty, charge, or penalty) to be undertaken or paid.

Example: “a fine may be imposed”

Synonyms: Levy, Charge


Meaning: A view or prospect.

Example: “a perspective of the whole valley”

Synonyms: View, Vista


Meaning: Extremely small; tiny.

Example: “a minuscule fragment of DNA”

Synonyms: Tiny, Minute

Antonyms: Vast, Huge


Meaning: (of events or information) gradually develop or be revealed.

Example: “there was a fascinating scene unfolding before me”

Synonyms: Develop, Evolve


Meaning: Corresponding in size or degree; in proportion.

Example: “salary will be commensurate with age and experience”

Synonyms: Equivalent, Equal

Antonyms: Disproportionate


Meaning: Likely to change suddenly and unexpectedly, especially by getting worse.

Example: Food and fuel prices are very volatile in a war situation.


Meaning: In the end, especially after a long delay, dispute, or series of problems.

Example: “eventually, after midnight, I arrived at the hotel”

Synonyms: Finally, Ultimately

Antonyms: Immediately, Never


Meaning: (of an action) characterized by a desire for revenge.

Example: “fears of a retaliatory attack by the victim’s friends”

Pushing back

Meaning: To delay something so that it happens later than planned.

Example: The target date for construction has been pushed back.

Synonyms: Delay, Wasting time


Meaning: Make (something) continue indefinitely.

Example: “the confusion was perpetuated through inadvertence”

Synonyms: Continue, Extend


Meaning: Deliberately cruel or violent; serious or dangerous.

Example: “a vicious assault”

Synonyms: Brutal, Savage

Antonyms: Gentle, Benevolent


Meaning: An official announcement or statement, especially one made to the media.

Example: “the country’s foreign ministry issued a communique”

Synonyms: Report, Notification


Meaning: Declare one’s public approval or support of.

Example: “the report was endorsed by the college”

Gets out of hand

Meaning: To avoid doing something that you do not want to do, especially by giving an excuse.

Example: I think her backache was just a way of getting out of the house.