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WTO: There is clear risk of trade war

Staff Writer |
The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned of a "clear risk" of a trade war sparked by protectionist policies.

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The global community must be attentive because "the risk of a trade war is very clear," said Roberto Azevedo, WTO director general who was here for a trade forum organized by Panama's Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

Azevedo warned that whichever country applies unilateral measures, other countries would respond, triggering a domino effect.

It is easy to see where such chain reactions begin. Should a trade war break out, countries "will in the end be worse off than when the dispute begins."

Azevedo also called for more dialogues, noting the potential influence that digital technologies can have on world trade. He said new technologies are growing faster than traditional sectors like exports.

"We need to raise awareness among leaders and governments that we are willing to work with them to identify solutions... for these types of phenomenons," said Azevedo, adding his agency was promoting relevant dialogues with officials and international organizations.

The WTO's annual report, to be released in September, sheds light on the trend and the importance of training the work force so it can take advantage of the new opportunities, he said.

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