Worst crisis since 1947. World trade ends on the brink because of Trump, according to WTO

World trade is facing its worst crisis since 1947, and free trade is currently threatened by protectionist waves. This was stated by the head of the World Trade Organization Roberto Azevedo, who is now in Buenos Aires at the summit of the world’s largest G20 economies, in an interview with the BBC’s news server.

“I would say it was the worst crisis not for World Trade Organizationbut for the whole multilateral trading system of the GATT, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which predates the organization and which was founded in 1947. This is a moment when some of the basic principles of the organization, the principle of cooperation, the principle of non-discrimination and I think that is very serious,” Azevedo said.

He pointed to the trade dispute between the United States and China, which will dominate the agenda of the Argentine summit.

The United States and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are now at loggerheads over the Appeals Body, which decides disputes between countries and is a key element of the entire organization.

Washington recently blocked the appointment of new WTO judges to decide trade disputes, which threaten the functioning of the WTO. Washington complains that WTO judges exceed their powers and make unfair decisions that benefit China and some other countries at the expense of the United States. If this situation is not resolved soon, WTO action will be paralyzed next year.

However, Azevedo said WTO members were negotiating a “Plan B” to prevent the Appellate Body from collapsing and allow it to continue. “Of course, the big question is whether the United States will be part of this plan. Otherwise, I would say that the settlement of the dispute with the US will be threatened,” Azevedo said.

Roderick Glisson

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