IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that a surge in trade protectionism could sap the momentum of the global economic upswing.
“The stakes are high because the health of the global economy depends on healthy trade flows. The rebound in trade has recently contributed to stronger global economic growth,” Lagarde said Monday, according to the prepared remarks of a speech in Portland, Oregon. “And yet, rising protectionism could stop this positive momentum in its tracks.”
Her remarks come as the U.S. and China continue talks aimed at defusing a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese goods, while China has vowed to retaliate on everything from American soybeans to airplanes.
“We at the IMF are keenly aware of what could happen when trade gets interrupted, when economic bridges are damaged,” she said, noting the International Monetary Fund was founded more than 70 years ago “precisely to help prevent a return to the self-defeating policies of the Great Depression” such as protectionism...