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WTO chief: If not for body, there would already be trade war

AP  |  Sao Paulo 

The world would already be in a trade war if not for the World Trade Organization's leadership, the of the body said today, defending the organisation amid rising concerns that is under threat.

told an audience at the on that US Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on and aluminum imports has made the WTO more relevant than ever.

There are concerns the American tariffs will lead to it-for-tat reactions from other countries and could set off a trade war. European nations are already threatening to levy tariffs on US goods.

"If it weren't for the WTO, we would already been in a trade war," Azevedo told reporters after a panel on globalization.

Trump has ordered tariffs of 25 per cent on imported and 10 per cent on aluminum, though he has temporarily exempted and He has said other countries could be spared if they can convince the US that their exports don't threaten American industry.

Brazilian warned yesterday that his country will bring the matter to the WTO if his Latin American nation doesn't achieve a "friendly" solution through negotiations with the US.

could be particularly affected by the new tariffs. After Canada, is the second-largest source of American imports, the vast majority of which are semi-finished products that Brazilian officials argue are vital to the US

Temer called the tariffs a "major concern," but he added that would tread carefully. He said that it would go to the WTO with other affected countries if it necessary.

"Naturally, this collective of countries will give more force to the request," Temer said.

Azevedo has said there is a risk of a trade war, but he expressed confidence today that the WTO would help resolve the dispute. He said the relevant parties were already speaking.

"I think it's an opportunity for the system to prove once again how important, how necessary it is and that we're up for the task," Azevedo said.

He also took aim at the idea that protectionism -- keeping goods out of an economy or using tariffs to make them more expensive than domestic goods -- helps save jobs. New technology is responsible for the elimination of about 80 per cent of jobs lost in advanced economies, not imports, he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 15 2018. 04:50 IST