Protectionism not the answer to address trade disputes: UN Chief
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that protectionism is not the answer to address issues such as trade disputes and calls for trade frictions to be solved through dialogue and cooperation.
The UN Chief has made the comments while speaking with Chinese media at the UN headquarters in New York before leaving for China to attend the annual Boao Forum for Asia.
Asked about his opinions on the escalating trade conflict between the U.S. and China, Guterres is suggesting the two world economic powers need to sit down and sort things out.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres takes an interview with Chinese media at the UN headquarters in New York on April 5th, 2018. [China Plus/Qian Shanming]
"Trade wars are always bad for those involved in the trade war, and for the international economy as a whole. We need to have international cooperation. Wherever there is a problem, there must be dialogue, there must be a serious discussion to overcome the problem. I hope that this tension would be able to subside and I hope that there would be an agreement to be established between the two countries on the way forward," Guterres says.
Guterres is recommending trade issues which can't be dealt with bilaterally should be arbitrated through the World Trade Organization.
"I am a strong believer in multilateralism to address global problems. There is no way global problems can be addressed on a country-by-country basis. Global problems need to have global answers, and global answers can only be implemented through multilateral frameworks. The international framework that governs global trade is of extreme importance with the World Trade Organization at its center," Guterres adds.
Describing himself as a true believer in free trade, Guterres says the WTO has proven itself through the years, and still remains critical in keeping international trade policies in-place.
Asked about the pro's and con's of globalization, Guterres notes the world is going to be much more interconnected in the future than it is even now.
"So the answer to address those problems is not protectionism, is not isolationism, the answer to address those problems is international cooperation, and the Agenda 2030 can be a very important instrument for that," Guterres notes.
The UN Chief has also taken time to laud China's contribution to world economic growth, noting China is a key contributor to the UN 2030 Agenda.
"I believe that China's commitment to globalization, China's commitment to free trade, China's commitment to international cooperation, and especially with the developing world, the Belt and Road Initiative, is a perfect demonstration of that," Guterres says.
Guterres will be among a long list of top-level delegates attending this year's Bo'ao Forum for Asia, which is set to kick off this Sunday in Hainan.