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It Is High Time To Speak Out For Global Trading System: WTO Chief

It Is High Time To Speak Out For Global Trading System: WTO Chief
While calling on "everyone who believes in trade as a force for good" to speak up in defense of free global trade, the economic and systemic threats posed by growing trade tensions were outlined by World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Tuesday.
"Members are well aware of the growing crisis in global trade. Tensions are growing. New measures are being announced with increasing frequency," Azevedo said at a closed meeting of the full WTO membership today.
His speech that was published on the WTO website showed his concerns on trade barriers and him saying that there is a real and justified concern about the possible escalation of trade barriers.
"Whether or not you call it a trade war, certainly the first shots have been fired. Continued escalation would risk a major economic impact, which would pose a serious threat to jobs, growth, and recovery in all countries," said the WTO chief.
a greater long-term threat is posed to the global economy by the existence of a potential systemic impact and which would be acute if countries begin to "accept this tit-for-tat dynamic as the new normal", he noted.
Azevedo said that people should be alerted about the potential risks and consequences and the members have a duty to do that. He added that he has been consulting with members on the issues, and meeting with leaders and ministers.
"Trade touches all of our lives. So I am calling on everyone who believes in trade as a force for good to speak up. Now is the time," said Azevedo.
He said that because leaders are getting aware in an increasing degree and are also getting associated with WTO issues in a manner that had not been present before, there can eb some progress made. 
"There is renewed engagement from many members on systemic issues, bringing more focus on the WTO and how it can be improved," said Azevedo, noting that this could, "potentially help us to find a path out of the current crisis."
The stalemate in the in appointments to the Appellate Body of the WTO's Dispute Settlement body was also mentioned by the director-general and stressed on the importance of the condition and the requirement for WYTO members to get more involved.
There had been no agreement between the members of the WTO on Friday on the issue of beginning of the process of selection for filling up the three vacancies on its Appellate Body because a proposal given and backed by 67 members – that would initiate the beginning of the selection process as soon as possible, was not acceptable for the United States.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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