WTO chief warns of economic danger of trade war

Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Roberto Azevedo, is welcomed by Argentina's President Mauricio Macri at Costa Salguero in Buenos Aires during the G20 Leaders' Summit, on November 30, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2018
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WTO chief warns of economic danger of trade war

  • The “outcome in all simulations is that trade and economic growth will slow down and that all countries, without exceptions, will lose out in a global trade war,” Azevedo said

WASHINGTON: All countries will lose in a global trade war, the head of the world’s trade referee warned in a speech on Wednesday.
Under attack from US President Donald Trump, the head of the World Trade Organization, Roberto Azevedo, acknowledged that reforms are needed, but rejected criticism that trade is the main cause of job losses.
Azevedo welcomed the commitment by the Group of 20 over the weekend in Buenos Aires to reform the WTO to better preside over the modern trading system, saying the “system can be better.”
But as the Trump administration has aggressively imposed punitive tariffs on trading partners, especially on China, with the goal of reducing the US trade deficit, Azevedo said that “we have to get away from the idea that trade is a zero-sum proposition.”
“It is not. Everyone can benefit,” he said in a speech to the National Foreign Trade Council.
He welcomed the US-China truce reached in Buenos Aires, and the commitment to reach a deal to defuse the conflict between the world’s two biggest economies.
The alternative of escalating the trade conflict would undermine the global economic recovery, he said.
The “outcome in all simulations is that trade and economic growth will slow down and that all countries, without exceptions, will lose out in a global trade war,” Azevedo said.
That is a warning the International Monetary Fund also has issued.
Azevedo acknowledged the growing anxiety in a changing economy, but stressed that most of the job losses are due to technological change, rather than trade.
Trade is “an engine of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation,” he said.
The Trump administration has blocked the workings of the WTO dispute arbitration system.
Azevedo again flagged the dangers of that path, saying it could undermine the WTO. But he said that after the agreement by the G20, “I believe that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew the trading system.”


Toyota recalls 70,000 vehicles to replace air bag inflators

Updated 12 December 2018
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Toyota recalls 70,000 vehicles to replace air bag inflators

  • Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and inflate the bags
  • Can deteriorate and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister

DETROIT: Toyota is recalling about 70,000 Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles in North America to replace air bag inflators that could explode and hurl shrapnel at drivers and passengers.
The recall covers the 2003 to 2005 Corolla, the 2002 to 2005 Sequoia, the 2003 to 2005 Tundra and the 2002 to 2005 Lexus SC.
Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion and inflate the bags. But it can deteriorate and burn too fast, blowing apart a metal canister.
The Toyota and Lexus vehicles were recalled previously and the inflators replaced with new ones that still used ammonium nitrate. In the latest recall, Toyota will use inflators made by another company with a safer chemical.
Owners will be notified early next year. Toyota says it has replacement parts available.
About 65,000 of the recalled vehicles are in the US
Toyota says it’s doing the recall a year ahead of a schedule set by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At least 23 people have died worldwide due to the problem caused by inflators made by Takata Corp., resulting in the largest series of auto recalls in US history. They cover 37 million vehicles and about 50 million inflators in the US About 100 million inflators are being recalled worldwide.
The recalls forced Takata of Japan to seek bankruptcy protection.