Fairness of trade is a key focus, World Bank chief says

Key Points
  • Kristalina Georgieva's comments appeared to echo concerns raised by Donald Trump.
  • The IMF has warned of "dark clouds" on the horizon for the global economy.
World Bank CEO: Open trade has left some behind
World Bank CEO: Open trade has left some behind

World Bank Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva said Wednesday that "fairness of trade" has become a key issue for her organization.

Recent strides in the global economy and gains in the equity market have hit the buffers due to fears that the opposing positions of the U.S. and China could erupt into a full-blown trade war.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that the U.S. is not getting a fair deal when it comes to global trade and has threatened to redraw the rules in order to protect the American economy.

Georgieva told CNBC's Joumanna Bercetche at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Spring Meetings in Washington that she recognizes some countries do miss out.

"Trade is good for growth, good for jobs, good for bringing down poverty, but we also know there have been countries, communities, and individuals who are not benefiting so much," she said.

"So fairness of trade, the benefits of trade, is something that the bank is now a very, very important topic of discussion," she added.

Georgieva said that the World Bank did not want to see a reversal of the global growth that free trade has provided during recent years.

While Washington tangles with Beijing, it is also trying to resolve the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as resist overtures to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership that includes countries such as Japan and New Zealand.

The IMF warned Wednesday that the world economy faces risks, with public and private sectors owing more than at the height of the financial crisis a decade ago.