Trump's tariffs spark fear of global trade war

  • 03/03/2018
World stocks tumbled on Friday. Photo credit: File

An export advocacy group doubts New Zealand is in the firing line over US tariffs on steel and aluminium.

Nations around the world have slammed US President Donald Trump's decision to impose steep tariffs - 25 percent on steel products, and 10 percent on aluminium goods.

Export NZ executive director Catherine Beard says the United States' real target is China.

"We don't have subsidies, so our steel and aluminium manufacturers stand on their own two feet and have to be globally competitive."

Catherine Beard says it is a long-term concern however for global trade.

"We get into a tit-for-tat and end up in a trade war, and other countries put their tariffs up."

World stocks tumbled on Friday, droving investors toward the traditional safe plays of government bonds and the Japanese yen.

Europe's STOXX 600 index fell over 1 percent early on, following both Wall Street and Asia down.

"It is a real worry because Europe is an open global economy so it isn't just about US versus China," said Ian Ormiston, European equity fund manager at Old Mutual Global Investors. "And we will see retaliation there are no two ways about it."

Europe's early drop came amid caution anyway ahead of crunch few days of politics.

Reuters / Newshub.