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Global Trade Order In Under Threat From Trade War: WTO Chief

Global Trade Order In Under Threat From Trade War: WTO Chief
Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevedo has said that there is now a threat to global trade from trade war and irrespective of whether the current situation can be called a trade war or not, there is need for immediate action as the first steps towards a trade has been taken. 
Azevedo wrote in a in an opinion piece released by Swissinfo, the official website of the Swiss national broadcaster that there has been a significant increase in restrictive trade measures over the last months according to WTO data.
"A continued escalation would risk a major economic impact, threatening jobs and growth in all countries, hitting the poorest the hardest," Azevedo said.
"A number of import-facilitating measures were also recorded during the same period, but crucially the value of trade covered by these measures is falling, whereas the coverage of the restrictive measures is rising rapidly," he said.
There is a role to be played by the entire international community to resolve the current situation, Azevedo said.
The WTO has been in consultations with various governments and have bene urging them to initiate dialogues and investigate steps to resolve the current situation.
He has also talked with members of the wider global society such as parliaments, businesses, think tanks and the media to increase awareness about the threat.
"I am calling on everyone who believes in trade as a force for good, and that global trade rules are an essential foundation for economic stability and prosperity, to speak up," wrote the WTO chief.
"Silence could prove as damaging as actions that lead to a trade war," he said.
Some signs of progress have however been noted by him as some people are speaking up against the current trade practices by some countries. "Business leaders and associations are calling on governments to refrain from putting up new barriers. They are asking for governments to negotiate and find solutions."
He said that a general understanding exists among people that they would have to pay higher prices because of higher tariffs in real terms and the more such an uncertainty prevails over the global economy there would be more wealth pulling out by investors and more job losses.
"And from leaders around the world, we are seeing much greater engagement in the WTO. Instead of tearing it up, they want to strengthen the system and improve it," said Azevedo.
He said this could potentially help defuse tensions and find "a path out of the current crisis in global trade."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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