WTO chief agrees with Macron

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World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevedo. Reuters

GENEVA (AFP) – The head of the World Trade Organization agreed yesterday with a call from French President Emmanuel Macron for reform, saying he saw a need to “strengthen” the body and “make it more effective”.

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WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo has in recent months warned that the US-led trend of erecting new trade barriers and sable-rattling on commerce could hamper global growth.

He met with France’s Mr Macron on Wednesday to discuss “current global trade tensions” and the “central role of the WTO in safeguarding the stability and predictability of the trading system,” the organisation said in a statement.

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“It was comforting to hear what he said and I agree entirely with his assessment on the need to strengthen the WTO and to make it more effective in addressing the trade challenges of today,” Mr Azevedo said in the statement.

The WTO chief, who has been at the helm of the global trade body since 2013, said he stood “ready to support him and all WTO members in exploring ways to make the WTO work better for all.”

His comments came after Mr Macron said he wanted talks on overhauling the WTO.

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