WTO sees global trade down 13% in 2020 due to coronavirus, says Azevedo

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - The World Trade Organization expects global trade to fall 13% this year due to coronavirus shocks, significantly less than its most pessimistic scenario of a 32% slump, its outgoing chief said on Tuesday.

Speaking in an online event hosted by ICC Brasil and the Brazilian Confederation of Industry, Brazilian Roberto Azevedo said there is growing concern within the WTO about countries moving towards self-sufficiency as a response to the pandemic.

Concentrating production in a country exposes it to a wide range of shocks, Azevedo said. Nations should diversify sources of supply, and the COVID-19 pandemic will see global value chains reconfigured in the coming years, he added.

Azevedo is due to step down this month, a year earlier than planned, after making a surprise announcement in May. The WTO has struggled to rein in global tensions and coordinate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brazilian has been director-general since 2013 and is serving a second term that was due to conclude at the end of August 2021.

Reporting by Marcela Ayres; editing by Jonathan Oatis