World Bank warns Trump tariffs could trigger drop in trade similar to 2008 financial crisis

World Bank warns Trump tariffs could trigger drop in trade similar to 2008 financial crisis
© Getty

The World Bank is warning that trade tensions between the United States and other countries could hurt global trade as badly as the financial crisis did in 2008.

In its Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank warns that tariff increases would have "severe consequences" for global trade and could cause a decline similar to that seen in 2008, or worse if tariffs are increased beyond the maximum level allowed by the World Trade Organization.

"A broad-based increase in tariffs worldwide would have major adverse consequences for global trade and activity," the report reads. "An escalation of tariffs up to legally-allowed bound rates could translate into a decline in global trade flows amounting to 9 percent, similar to the drop seen during the global financial crisis in 2008-09."

The World Bank's assessment comes as President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE has levied steep tariffs on U.S. allies, prompting other countries to impose their own retaliatory tariffs. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Mexico announced this week that it would hit the U.S. with a 20 percent tariff on pork imports in response to Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum. 

Canada and the European Union have also threatened to slap tariffs on U.S. goods such as blue jeans, bourbon and yogurt, in response to Trump's tariffs. 

Trump also imposed 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent tariffs on imported aluminum in China earlier this year, and announced plans last week to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese technology by the end of this month. 

China has said it too would retaliate if such tariffs are implemented. 

The threats of a possible trade war have prompted lawmakers on Capitol Hill to draft a bill that would rein in Trump's power to implement tariffs.