WTO chief says trade tensions threaten global economy: CNBC

Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), attends a news conference with representatives of the trade organizations after a meeting in the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 11, 2018. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

(Reuters) - The head of the World Trade Organization on Wednesday said current trade policy tensions, recently escalated by new U.S. import tariffs that spurred retaliatory measures from trading partners, could threaten global economic growth.

“We’re seeing more trade restrictive measures than before. That’s clearly the situation. We hope that we can stop this trend,” WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said in a CNBC interview.

“The growth of the global economy is showing signs of recovery. Our hope is that these new trade tensions will not affect that and will not take away the opportunities of this growth that is looking promising right now.”

Azevedo also said the WTO had not received any indications that the United States will withdraw from the organization, despite recent criticism from President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow casting the WTO as broken.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Tom Brown