WTO chief: No sign US will quit under Trump
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. –