WTO handling largest number of trade disputes in 16 years: director

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- The World Trade Organization (WTO) has been processing the largest number of trade disputes in 16 years, its director-general, Roberto Azevedo, told an agribusiness summit in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

"The WTO is ready to deepen dialogue with the Brazilian government and contribute to the country's progress, especially in the area of economy and trade," said Azevedo.

"The change in government in Brazil offers an opportunity to reflect a little on international trade and the country's insertion into the world," said Azevedo.

"The rise in such measures and counter measures is a possibility. We have to take action to reduce these tensions," said Azevedo.

Brazil's incoming administration, which is set to take office on Jan. 1, should work to boost Brazil's presence in global trade and strengthen agencies such as the WTO, he said.

The WTO is currently handling a total of 35 disputes sparked by a rise in protectionism and global tensions in trade, the Brazilian-born Azevedo said via videoconference call, as he called on business leaders to counter the trend.