Global institutions mount joint defence of trade benefits

Global institutions mount joint defence of trade benefits

Report by IMF, World Bank and WTO made public week before finance ministers meet in Washington

IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, makes the case for trade at an event in Berlin on Monday © Reuters

The joint appearance in Monday in Berlin — which under German chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership is emerging as the new capital of global free market liberalism — is an attempt to fight back against what the institutions fear is a slide towards greater protectionism since Mr Trump became US president.  The robust defence of multilateralism comes a little over a week before finance ministers and central bankers from around the world gather in Washington for the first biennial meetings of the IMF and World Bank since Mr Trump’s election last November.  The US is the biggest shareholder of both institutions and the meetings are set to be dominated by questions about Mr Trump’s plans for them. The Geneva-based WTO, in which the US has traditionally been a leading player, is due to hold its own biennial meeting of ministers in Argentina later this year with discussions about just what will be on the agenda held up by questions over Washington’s role.