Two months into protectionist Donald Trump’s presidency, WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo warns of the risks of a global trade war.
Speaking to Svenska Dagbladet ahead of his visit to Stockholm today, Thursday, the WTO head says he hopes a trade war can be avoided. “There are no winners in a trade war, only losers,” he remarks.
He does not believe there will be a return to the global trade growth of 8 to 9% seen in the years prior to the financial crisis, but there is no reason why it should not pick up to 5%, although this is unlikely to happen any time soon.
Roberto Azevêdo is cautious about drawing any swift conclusions over US-China relations, convinced the two nations will reach agreement despite difficulties.
Diplomats in Washington are unsure about the direction the US may take on trade policy and the WTO head is in a similar situation. “I don’t actually know if Trump is for or against trade. What I am hearing, however, is that the Americans consider the WTO an important organisation and that they are for free trade but against unfair trade,” he says.