‘Get-tough’ politi­cians threaten trade: IMF chief

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

THE head of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund Chris­tine La­garde said politi­cians who cam­paigned on prom­ises of pro­tec­tion­ism and eco­nomic bar­ri­ers were a threat to global trade.

“There is a grow­ing risk of politi­cians seek­ing of­fice by promis­ing to ‘get tough’ with for­eign trade part­ners through puni­tive tar­iffs or other re­stric­tions,” Ms La­garde said.

Both US pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nees Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton have an­nounced their op­po­si­tion to the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s sig­na­ture Pa­cific trade deal.

Mr Trump has pro­posed big tar­iffs on Chi­nese goods and de­nounced free trade agree­ments be­tween the US, Canada and Mex­ico. Bri­tish voters this year also chose to se­cede from the Euro­pean Union.

Ms La­garde, who faces a neg­li­gence trial in France, said she was deeply con­cerned. She de­scribed an anti-trade po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, not­ing that the growth rate for global trade stood at 2 per­cent.

Prospects for US rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the TPP in 2016 ap­pear slim, with US law­mak­ers cast­ing doubt that it will re­ceive sub­stan­tial back­ing or come to a vote.

Trade, she said, re­sulted in more com­pet­i­tive in­dus­tries, greater in­no­va­tion and lower prices for con­sumers all over the world. –

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