World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo said on Thursday he had no indictation that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wanted to withdraw the United States from the global trading body.
“I think that at this point in time what we have to do is be ready for a conversation,” Azevedo told reporters, adding that he was convinced the United States could be a very important partner in reviving global trade growth.
Trump suggested during his election campaign that he could pull the United States out of the WTO if its rules stopped him renegotiating U.S. terms of trade to his satisfaction.
“I haven’t had any indication from anybody that that would be the case,” said Azevedo, who added that he had not yet talked to Trump but was ready to do so.
If the United States did pull out, the WTO would continue doing what it does, he said.
Nor would free trade necessarily be damaged if the United States withdrew from existing or new regional trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Azevedo said, since much depended on what might be put in their place, and regional trade arrangements often failed or were renegotiated.
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