On 1 March 2018, Donald Trump pushed through a metals tariff plan, that puts 25% tariff on imports of steel and a 10% tariff on imports of aluminium, which can affect shipping trades. In response, China announced a plan for countermeasures on US goods worth 3 billion USD.

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Calling for the world's major trading blocks to strengthen dialogue in order to prevent any further escalation of the conflict, Jacob K. Clasen, Executive Director at Danish Shipping, explained:

Trade between China and the USA accounts for roughly 4% of global trade, so a dispute between the two countries will harm trade patterns globally. In addition, increased tariffs will send a very wrong signal to the world that more market restrictions may be a plausible way forward. This is the wrong way to go and will ultimately harm consumers all over the world.

The United States and China are the two largest markets for the Danish shipping sector with annual total exports amounting to 38.5 billion DKK. The two countries constitute approximately 23 pct. of the Danish shipping companies' total export activity.

All parties - the EU, the US and China - must look for solutions through dialogue and do everything possible to avoid a harmful trade war. It is crucial that all parties make every effort to avoid an escalation of the conflict. Instead, a solution must be found at the negotiating table.

In the meantime, the US National Retail Federation CEO, Matthew Shay, said that holding China accountable for refusing to follow global trading rules is important, but the tariffs proposed will punish ordinary Americans for China’s violations.

We urge the administration to reconsider and instead work with our trading partners to enforce the rules and advance targeted trade remedies. We will continue engaging with congressional leadership and the administration to advocate for an approach that doesn’t negatively impact American jobs, jeopardize economic growth and increase the cost of living for American families.

On the issue, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand, mentioned:

Free trade provides prosperity and peace. It’s a fundamental principle to cherish and safeguard. All trade-restrictive measures are in principle bad for shipping. Open economies are all better off from trading, as they make use of their resources in the most optimal way. The result of a trade war is more expensive goods of lower quality and little variety. This goes for all products and commodities.