WTO Director General Pascal Lamy on Thursday called for further regional trade cooperation and continuous efforts to fight protectionism while delivering a speech at the Beijing-base University of International Business and Economics.
Lamy said regional neighbors should share similar concerns and interests so that they have more than one venue for cooperation in similar and overlapping areas of policy and economic activity.
"But this is not to say that multilateral and regional cooperation are always perfectly synchronized and complementary," he added.
Moreover, a number of so-called regional cooperation agreements extend across regions and are sometimes treated as a substitute for a multilateral approach, Lamy said.
For political or strategic ends, today's trade cooperation is normally carried out between two countries or within a certain region, Lamy said.
He said he hopes globally multilateral economic cooperation can eventually replace regional cooperation.
Lamy also suggested that mutually beneficial cooperation between different countries should be in accordance with relevant rules of the WTO.
"As an international community we must continue to fight protectionism, but in the WTO in particular, we must also fight policy fragmentation," he said.
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