WTO chief expresses concerns about moving away from free trade: anticipating increased prices.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Generaldirektorin der Welthandelsorganisation

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Generaldirektorin der Welthandelsorganisation

Foto: Janine Schmitz / photothek / IMAGO

WTO-Chefin Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warnt vor negativen Folgen einer Abkehr vom freien Welthandel. Zunächst würden die Konsequenzen mit der Rückkehr von Industrieaktivitäten in einigen Ländern vielleicht nicht so offensichtlich sein. »Aber mit der Zeit wird man es mit dem Verlust des Wettbewerbs, mit höheren Preisen und Kosten spüren«, sagte die Chefin der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) der Deutschen Presse-Agentur.

After decades of increasing global trade and globalization, a counter movement is currently emerging. Key factors for this are the geopolitical tensions between the USA and China, as well as the consequences of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The recent decline in Chinese exports and imports into the USA are seen as indicators of this development.

Die Verlagerung von Lieferketten ist unvermeidlich.

An example of the shift in thinking regarding global supply chains is the efforts to bring back more chip manufacturing to the USA and Western Europe in order to reduce the risk of disruptions due to tensions with China over Taiwan. A significant portion of semiconductors and nearly all of the most advanced chips come from there.

In such situations, it is „inevitable“ that a portion of the supply chains would be relocated, stated Okonjo-Iweala. It is not correct for a product to be produced 90 percent in one place and for everyone to depend on it. „We should reduce the concentration in some areas, but we do not want to see a change in investment behavior that indicates that trade is no longer closely interconnected.“

„I cannot reword“

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The current transformation of supply chains is also „an opportunity to integrate countries that have been left out so far,“ said Okonjo-Iweala. If manufacturing capacities are currently being shifted from China, they usually go to India, Vietnam, or Indonesia. But why not also to Bangladesh, Cambodia, or Laos – or to Senegal, Rwanda, or South Africa, according to the WTO chief: „It would be a different kind of globalization than what we have seen so far.“