The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, said in his address to the National Foreign Trade Council, on Wednesday December 5th, that all countries will lose in the global trade war.
The "outcome in all simulations is that trade and economic growth will slow down and that all countries, without exceptions, will lose out in a global trade war," Azevedo said.
He also welcomed the G20 commitment to reform the WTO for optimal leadership of the modern trading system, noting that "the system can be better.”
In response to US President Donald Trump's attack, Azevedo acknowledged the need for reforms, but refused to admit that trade was the main cause of job losses, instead citing technological change.
Trade is "an engine of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation," he said.
He also welcomed the truce between the US and China, appealing to everyone "to get away from the idea that trade is a zero-sum proposition," referring to the Trump administration's punitive tariffs of China to reduce the US trade deficit. "It is not. Everyone can benefit," he said.
Commenting on Trump's prevention of the WTO's dispute arbitration system, Azevedo said it could undermine the organisation. But he said he believes that the G20 agreement "is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew the trading system."