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Protectionism brings "neither growth nor wellbeing": Chilean president

Xinhua, March 30, 2017 Adjust font size:

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday slammed protectionist trends arising around the world, including in the U.S., and the uncertainty they generate.

Visiting the headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Switzerland, where she met with Director General Roberto Azevedo, the president called "to correct the deviations and inequalities so globalization can be beneficial to all."

She added that the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) would be a platform seeking to drive open trade across Latin America.

Addressing the WTO's General Council, Bachelet said that "our economies, in recent years, have been affected by the low costs of raw materials, inequality, insecurity and corruption. To this is added the rise of protectionist policies on trade in certain countries."

She spoke of a "neo-protectionism, especially in more developed countries, a temptation that developing countries are also not escaping. It seeks to create barriers, to prevent exchanges and to favor national production."

However, Bachelet argued that "we are convinced these measures bring neither growth nor well-being. Furthermore, isolation and protectionism cannot face up to productive, commercial, technological, academic and communications interdependence."

According to her, "globalization is an irreversible reality. But we must correct deviations and inequalities so globalization can be beneficial to all...Chile has begun initiatives to strengthen various integration schemes in Latin America and the region can be competitively inserted in the world."

In this context, Bachelet referred to a summit held earlier this month in Chile's seaside town of Vina del Mar.

"In Vina del Mar, the Pacific Alliance decided to begin commercial negotiations with Asia-Pacific countries, which will become commercial agreements of high-quality standards in the short-term," she added.

As a final warning, Bachelet said that "we are witnessing a severe slowdown of international trade, which only grew by 1.2 percent in 2016. This contrasts with global economic growth of 2.2 percent for the same period, the lowest registered since 2009."

"While projections point to an improvement in economic activity for 2017 and 2018, the growth could be affected by the political uncertainty and financial vulnerability threatening the markets," concluded Chile's president. Enditem