WTO chief: No sign US will quit un­der Trump

The Myanmar Times - - International / Business -

THE head of the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion has said he had re­ceived no in­di­ca­tion the United States would move to leave the WTO un­der Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I haven’t had any in­di­ca­tion from any­body that it could be the case,” WTO chief Roberto Azevedo said.

Dur­ing his cam­paign, in which he re­peat­edly at­tacked global trade deals, Pres­i­dent-elect Trump called the WTO a “dis­as­ter” and said the US would “pull out” of the Geneva-based body if Wash­ing­ton was not able rene­go­ti­ate the rules on ma­jor is­sues like tar­iffs.

But Mr Azevedo stressed it was pre­ma­ture to spec­u­late on what Mr Trump may do in of­fice.

“I just don’t know what the trade poli­cies are,” Mr Azevedo said of the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion, adding he had not spo­ken to Mr Trump per­son­ally since the 70-year-old real-es­tate mogul’s shock elec­tion win.

“I told them I am avail­able when­ever they are ready to have a con­ver­sa­tion,” Mr Azevedo said, in­di­cat­ing he has had con­tact with the Trump tran­si­tion team. The WTO boss fur­ther said that he was re­luc­tant to make as­sump­tions about the new ad­min­is­tra­tion “on the ba­sis of head­lines” and Mr Trump should be given an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess the is­sue of global trade “from a broader per­spec­tive”.

Wash­ing­ton’s new gov­ern­ment needs space to “look at [trade] in an en­vi­ron­ment where there will be other com­po­nents in play other than votes,” said Mr Azevedo. But Mr Azevedo con­ceded that huge num­bers of peo­ple world­wide had come to see global trade as a job killer even though such per­cep­tions were not sup­ported by any ev­i­dence. –

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