IMF, World Bank, WTO urge nations to advance open trade


"At the same time, there are clear downside risks: political uncertainty, including in Europe, the sword of protectionism hanging over global trade, and tighter global financial conditions that could trigger disruptive capital outflows from emerging and developing economies", Lagarde said.

It said the world´s richer countries should help workers affected by trade liberalization, which has grown increasingly unpopular in the post-financial crisis era, driving a rise in protectionism.

The report also acknowledges that while bilateral and regional trade deals have a role to play, a strong global trading system based on the WTO is critical: "Strong, well-enforced trade rules help to promote competition and to reassure citizens that worldwide trade is evenhanded", it says.

The report was released in advance of this month's IMF-World Bank spring meetings.

In March, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said the United States was not going to turn toward protectionism if Washington can successfully renegotiate trade deals.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says that there is a critical need for more worldwide cooperation, not less.

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The three multinational groups insist that greater progress toward freer trade is "important to reinvigorating global growth", repeating their longstanding view that free trade spreads broad economic benefits.

According to one study cited by the report, trade with China resulted in the loss of a million U.S. manufacturing jobs and 1.4 million non-manufacturing jobs between 1999 and 2011.

The organizations also call on governments to stabilize unemployed working families with short term passive labour market programmes, such as unemployment benefits and income support until those who have lost their jobs can get back to work.

International Monetary Fund in the outlook said emerging market and developing economies face starkly diverse cyclical positions and structural challenges, noting that enhancing financial resilience can reduce the vulnerability to a tightening of global financial conditions, sharp currency movements, and the risk of capital flow reversals.

"I have also identified two key concerns that we at the International Monetary Fund have: one is persistent low productivity and, second, excessive inequalities that grow together with that low productivity", she said. For this year's forecast, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo set a range of between 1.8 percent and 3.6 percent depending on factors including the interest rate environment, fiscal policy, the results of upcoming elections, and the level of appetite for more protectionist or anti-globalization policies.