LISBON, Portugal – The head of the world's leading trade body says that hostility toward trade agreements witnessed in the United States and other countries is misplaced and that protectionist measures can hurt the poorest most.
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World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo says protectionism "is the wrong response" to voter concerns about job losses and economic uncertainty. He says the introduction of new technology is a much bigger threat to jobs.
Azevedo declined to comment specifically on the U.S. presidential candidates. However, he said Monday that "the major question is ... is a restrictive trade policy the answer to the kind of sentiments that you see in the electorate today, and I don't think it would be."
The Geneva-based WTO oversees and regulates international trade agreements.