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March 12, 2018
Head of WTO calls on members to avoid escalation in trade barriers
Speaking at a meeting of the whole World Trade Organization's (WTO) membership last week, the Organization's Director-General Roberto AzevÍdo responded to a series of announcements from WTO members in recent days. DG AzevÍdo warned of the risks posed by such measures, calling on members to reflect and avoid escalation.
Mr AzevÍdo said: "In light of recent announcements on trade policy measures, it is clear that we now see a much higher and real risk of triggering an escalation of trade barriers across the globe. We cannot ignore this risk and I urge all parties to consider and reflect on this situation very carefully. Once we start down this path, it will be very difficult to reverse direction. An eye for an eye will leave us all blind and the world in deep recession. We must make every effort to avoid the fall of the first dominoes. There is still time."
In his statement the Director-General also reflected on the way forward after the 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires in December. He encouraged members to learn from the experience of MC11 and to find ways of increasing the levels of flexibility that they show to each other.
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