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Global Trade No Major Cause of Job Losses

Global Trade No Major Cause of Job LossesGlobal Trade No Major Cause of Job Losses

Roberto Azevedo, the director-general at the World Trade Organization, has delivered a defense of global trade but admitted that the agreements struck with multilateral deals can often create unevenness.

“The system is horizontal, it applies to everybody, the system that is perceived to be fair to someone, isn’t fair to someone else. That’s the beauty of negotiations at a multilateral level—you try to strike a balance—the balance is never perfect for anyone,” he told CNBC Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Azevedo explained that trade deals today are “more important than ever” and defended the rules that his organization applies.

“Trade is responsible for two job losses out of ten. What happens is the other eight are lost not because of trade but they are lost because of new technologies, innovation, higher productivity,” he said.

“The US today itself has the largest slice it has ever had in terms of manufactured products in the world, but the loss of jobs is still there, not because of trade, not because of cheap imports but because of higher productivity,” he added.

He explained that this issue was the real question that these countries had to answer with the new administration and Donald Trump set to be sworn in as president this week. Trump suggested during his election campaign that he could pull the US out of the WTO if dissatisfied, but Azevedo would not be drawn on any speculation and said that there was no official confirmation that this would happen.

Meanwhile, easier trade in services including movement of services professionals across borders is set to top India’s agenda when Azevedo visits the country next month.

Azevedo’s visit assumes importance as it comes ahead of the 11th WTO ministerial conference to be held in Argentina in December which is expected to see a tug of war between developed countries that want to bring in topics apart from the existing Doha issues and developing countries, which don’t want new issues until the unfinished issues including food security get resolved.

He had last visited India in 2013 after taking charge as the WTO director general.

 

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