Watchdog warns trade tariffs would slow world growth upswing

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstroem, center, meets with Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko and U.S. Trade

PARIS (AP) — As the U.S. prepares to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a world economic watchdog is warning that such barriers will hurt economic growth globally.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a policy adviser to developed economies, said Tuesday that "trade protectionism remains a key risk that would negatively affect confidence, investment and jobs."

In an update to its forecasts, it said that preserving "the rules-based international system is essential to prevent the longer-term harm to growth prospects that could arise from a retreat from open markets."

The statement was a veiled reference to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs without resorting to international arbitration.

The OECD expects world economic growth to accelerate to 4 percent this year and next, from 3.7 percent in 2017.