"Trade growth in 2017 was the strongest since 2011. With continued robust growth forecast for this year and next, we are seeing trade playing its part in supporting the global economic recovery – supporting GDP growth, development and job creation around the world," says DG Azevêdo in his opening message. "If we are to avoid this strong performance being compromised by a further escalation in tensions, we must seek to further enhance global cooperation."

"I believe that the multilateral trading system can continue to be a force for good in the world – promoting stability, creating opportunities, and boosting growth and development, as it has done for many years. But we can take nothing for granted," he continues.

"For all of this to happen, we need to continue strengthening the WTO, fostering cooperation on global economic issues and making the case for the rules-based system. I will continue working together with all WTO members to that end."

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