Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a meeting with the heads of six multilateral agencies in Berlin to discuss ways to foster international economic cooperation to address global challenges and improve the prospects for inclusive and sustainable growth. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo attended the meeting, alongside the heads of the ILO, IMF, OECD, World Bank and the African Development Bank. A joint press release was issued at the end of the meeting.
DG Azevêdo, speaking after the meeting, said, “Rising trade tensions risk a major economic impact, undermining the strongest sustained period of trade growth since the financial crisis. They also pose a real systemic threat, risking far greater impacts in the longer term. We will continue working to resolve these tensions and to avoid further, damaging escalation which draws in new sectors, potentially harming more workers.
“While we work to resolve current issues, we must also enhance cooperation and improve our institutional structures to meet our members’ needs. Many would agree that the trading system is imperfect and that it needs reform. I would agree with that, but I would also say that the core principles of the system have tremendous value. They are the pillar on which many decades of stability, growth and development have been built. But we should also be seeking to strengthen and improve it, for the benefit of everyone. The best way to do this is through a new dialogue among leaders. We must find constructive ways of engaging and bringing leaders together. I commend the Chancellor for her efforts here. I look forward to working with her to this end.”