Dubai, Apr 13 (PTI) The world needs to unite and revive global economic cooperation, liberalisation and growth to defeat trade protectionism and the rising threat of a trade war, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) said.

“No issue is more urgent today than reviving global economic cooperation, liberalisation and growth,” Yonov Frederick Agah, the deputy director general of WTO told delegates at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

He said the signs of “rising trade tensions” are not only a cause but a symptom of a global economy that has “largely stopped opening and integrating” in recent years, holding back growth when it is “most needed” to secure a prosperous and peaceful world.

“The picture was very different just a decade ago. Between 1990 and 2008 – the high-water mark of globalisation – world trade expanded nearly three-fold — double the pace of economic growth — while FDI grew almost seven fold.

“It was not just new technologies that helped fuel this expansion, but the success of major new global and regional liberalisation initiatives as well – the Uruguay Round; China’s accession to the WTO; the creation of the European Single Market, NAFTA, Mercosur, and many others,” he said.

The AIM, a three-day congregation of high-profile officials that include 25 federal ministers, 19 mayors, eight organisation heads, one head of parliament and investors, will see the signing of a number of agreements and announcements that will help countries boost the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said, he did not think that the current situation between “two big economic powers” will escalate to a “trade war”.

“Things are still developing and we have to wait to see where it reaches,” he said.

“The UAE firmly believes in cooperation and partnership and that’s how we have built our economy though cooperation and we will continue to do that. Currently, we have nothing to worry. However, a full-scale trade war will affect all of us,” he added.

Georgia First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili said his country believes in growing together through liberalisation, cooperation and openness.

“We are a small country and can’t afford protectionism. We have signed free trade agreements with countries with a population of 2.3 billion. Protectionism is not good for global growth,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.