All against protectionism
German Chancellor joins IMF, WTO, OECD and World Bank vow to defend the free trade
13 April, 2017
The chiefs of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) vowed on April 10 to defend free trade against creeping protectionist trends, amid growing global alarm over US President Donald Trump's "America First" call. As host of the meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed the adopted by leaders of top international economic organisations joint statement saying they wanted to strengthen the global trade system in the face of protectionism.
"Disappointing trade growth figures and the danger of increasing protectionist tendencies give us a clear incentive to support the international trading system even more," said the statement.
It was also signed by the heads of the World Bank and the Internaional Labour Organisation (ILO).
Earlier, the IMF, WTO and World Bank presented a report in Berlin entitled "Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All". They said the role of trade as a driver of global growth is threatened by a slowdown in trade reform since the early 2000s and a rise in protectionism after the financial crisis.
The WTO has forecasted that global trade would likely grow only within a range of 1.8% to 3.1% this year. But of greater concern is the Trump administration's attitude towards global commerce.
During his campaign, Trump described the WTO as a "disaster" and promised a more aggressive approach to open up foreign markets to US companies, including threatening to unilaterally impose tariffs. The US also refused at a G-20 meeting in March to renew a long-standing anti-protectionist pledge, to the dismay of the group of top developed and developing nations.
At the meeting in Berlin, the leaders of the international organisations and Merkel also stressed the role of the WTO in creating "new growth, employment and development opportunities". In addition, they underlined their commitment to combating climate change and protecting resources - another key issue that was dropped at the G-20 meeting because of US opposition.