Let's get down to business: WTO boss Roberto Azevedo is ready to work with Donald Trump

Rebecca Smith
The WTO director-general has extended a hand to Trump
The WTO director-general has extended a hand to Trump (Source: Getty)

The head of the World Trade Organisation has said he's ready to get to work with Donald Trump and will support his administration.

"US leadership in the global economy and the mulilateral trading system remains vital," said WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo in a tweet, while congratulating Donald Trump on his election victory.

"It's clear many feel trade isn't working for them. We must address this and ensure trade delivers the widest benefit to the most people."

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As for Trump's perspective on the WTO: he's previously described it as "a disaster" and threatened to pull the US out of it in July.

In an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press, Trump was discussing a plan to impose taxes or tariffs on US firms moving manufacturing abroad. He has said he'll crackdown on American companies moving jobs to Mexico and put a 45 per cent tariff on Chinese imports in an effort to pull back a trade deficit with China.

When told such a policy might run him into hot water with the Geneva-based trade club, Trump said: "It doesn't matter."

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"Then we're going to renegotiate or we're going to pull out. These trade deals are a disaster, Chuck. World Trade Organisation is a disaster."

Azevedo hasn't criticised Trump's comments in the past. But in July he did say that trade was "so obviously positive for every economy it's like trying to argue with a friend that he needs to breathe".

It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was ready to do its part to restore ties with Washington after Trump was elected as the next US President.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have become increasingly tense over conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, as well as allegations of Russian cyber attacks during the US election campaign.

At a ceremony today, Putin said: "It is not an easy path, but we are ready to do our part and do everything to return Russian and American relations to a stable path of development."

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