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Exclusive interview with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo


04-08-2016 12:50 BJT

The World Trade Organization has released figures about the world economic performance in 2015 and its forecast for the next two years. 

Growth in the volume of world trade is expected to remain sluggish in 2016 at 2.8 percent, unchanged from 2015. That would be the fifth consecutive year of trade growth below 3%.

CCTV reporter Liu Xin sat down with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo and talked about China's performance.

Exclusive interview with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo

Exclusive interview with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo

Q1: Exactly how well, or how not so well did China fare in import and export for 2015?

A1: For example, Imports for China fell considerably, they fell by 4%. It was more pronounced decrease in numbers in the first semester, it rebounded a little bit in the second semester. So we saw healthier numbers in the second semester. But overall, the Chinese numbers were negative. That contracts a lot with what China was contributing before the crisis and immediately after the crisis. But we have to be realistic too, those numbers are not sustainable, We’ve seen some deceleration, but still healthy to some extent, let’s hope that China would pick it up again. So to the extent that China maintains this model of domestic consumption being the driver, we will see modest but healthy I think growth in the near future.

Q2: How do you look at this wave of rhetoric that seems to paint the situation even gloomier than maybe really it is?

A2: I agree. I don’t think we can at this point in time say that China is moving towards an economy that has a gloomy future. On the contrary I think China is still a driver of the global economy. It’s not the locomotive that it was before, China was pretty much pulling all the numbers of foreign trade with it. Today, China is playing a more modest role. But still healthy, still growing. And clearly it can do even better. A lot of it has to with policies that go together with trade, together with investment, I think we had numbers that were superlative. Everything in China was superlative. But it was clearly unmanageable to maintain those levels of expansion of imports in commodities, it was just incredibly high. So now as the Chinese economy matures, you will see numbers which are more aligned with mature economy numbers.

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