Davos WEF
Davos WEF

WTO admits global trade deals 'are never perfect for anyone'

Big issue is negative sentiment against foreign trade: WTO Director-General

Roberto Azevêdo, the director-general at the World Trade Organization (WTO), has delivered a defense of global trade but admitted that the agreements struck with multi-lateral 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.

Azevêdo explained that trade deals today are "more important than ever" and defended the rules that his organization applies.

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"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 U.S. 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 U.S. out of the WTO if dissatisfied, but Azevêdo would not be drawn on any speculation and said that there was no official confirmation that this would happen.

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