Global trade is under threat. Whether or not you call the current situation a trade war, certainly the first shots have been fired.
This calls for our attention, and most importantly, our action.
WTO data show a marked escalation of trade restrictive-measures over the last six months.
A number of import-facilitating measures were also recorded during the same period, but crucially the value of trade covered by these measures is falling, whereas the coverage of the restrictive measures is rising rapidly.
Restrictive measures can include tariffs, quotas and stricter customs regulations.
The situation is extremely serious. Reciprocal trade restrictions cannot be the new normal.
A continued escalation would risk a major economic impact, threatening jobs and growth in all countries, hitting the poorest the hardest.
There is a responsibility on the whole international community to help resolve these issues.
I have been consulting with governments and leaders around the world, urging dialogue and exploring steps to unwind the current situation.
But I have also been talking to a wider range of contacts across civil society – including parliaments, , think tanks and the media – to raise awareness of what is at stake.
I am calling on everyone who believes in trade as a force for good, and that global trade rules are an essential foundation for economic stability and prosperity, to speak up.
Silence could prove as damaging as actions that lead to a trade war.
There have been some signs of progress.
People are beginning to raise their voices.
leaders and associations are calling on governments to refrain from putting up new barriers.