‘Get-tough’ politicians threaten trade: IMF chief
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. –