November 16, 2018 / 9:01 AM / a month ago

French finance minister flags new cold war risk over trade

FILE PHOTO: French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire attends the 2018 Women's Forum Global Meeting in Paris, France, November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - The world faces a new cold war over trade triggered by tensions between China and the United States, which can only be avoided by reforming the World Trade Organisation, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.

“The real risk now is that we enter into a cold war between China and the United States in which all countries, including Europe, come out losing,” Le Maire said. “This open war in trade will be an economic suicide for the whole world. It (the trade war) is quite simply stupid,”

Opening a trade conference at the ministry, Le Maire said that WTO needed to get out of “paralysis of the consensus” currently holding up its work and ensure that global trade rules are respected by all.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas and Tom Miles; editing by John Irish

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