The United States has raised concerns about the functioning of the World Trade Organisation and asked for reforms, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said on Monday.
Azevedo, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an informal meeting of 50 WTO members in New Delhi, said the global trade environment was quite risky and the trade body had sought an “open and honest” conversation with its members.
“This is a moment we are facing many challenges inside and outside WTO,” he said.
The meeting is the first time WTO members have gathered since President Donald Trump’s announcement last week of a 25 percent tariff on US imports of steel and 10 percent on aluminium.
The United States is not represented at the New Delhi meeting.
Azevedo said Washington maintained that global trade had changed since the WTO, which deals with the global rules of trade between nations, was set up in 1995.
“The US wants some upgrade and reforms (in the WTO) and the conversations with the US are going on,” he said.
A senior Indian government official said all trade related issues, including the US decision to hike tariffs on steel and aluminium, would be discussed at the informal two-day WTO meeting. The official gave no other details.
Even though the United States has declined to declare the tariffs at the WTO, they can still come under its jurisdiction if countries affected raise complaints.