Geneva trade official backs WTO, says it serves US interests

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Geneva trade official backs WTO, says it serves US interests
In this Nov. 9, 2017, photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepare to shake their hands after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The brewing China-U.S. trade conflict features two leaders who’ve expressed friendship but are equally determined to pursue their nation's interests and their own political agendas. But while Trump faces continuing churn in his administration and a tough challenge in midterm congressional elections, Xi leads an outwardly stable authoritarian regime. Xi recently succeeded in pushing through a constitutional reform allowing him to rule for as long as he wishes while facing no serious electoral challenge. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

GENEVA (AP) — The director of a key multilateral trade agency says she is worried about efforts to “exaggerate” the shortcomings of the World Trade Organization and insists the trade body “serves the U.S.’s interests.”

International Trade Centre Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez stopped short of directly criticizing President Donald Trump, who has had harsh words for the World Trade Organization. The center is an agency of the WTO and the United Nations.

But speaking Wednesday at the U.N. compound in Geneva, Gonzalez disagreed with Trump’s bid to work around the multilateral system championed by the WTO by making bilateral deals with individual countries.

She said: “I worry a lot about the World Trade Organization, and I worry because I see a tendency today to exaggerate its (faults) and ignore its successes — and I think this is not good.”