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IMF chief urges US, others to reject ‘dystopian’ path

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WASHINGTON: Countries that go it alone and fail to adapt to new economic realities could face a "dystopian" future where an angry majority is left behind, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde warned on Tuesday.

She urged world leaders to remember the lesson of the global recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis: "International cooperation is essential, not optional."

The managing director of the Washington-based global crisis lender issued yet another plea to governments, notably the US, to back away from protectionism and confrontation.

As US President Donald Trump engages in global trade conflict that the IMF says puts world economic growth at risk, Ms Lagarde said she is pleased by the "significant progress" over the weekend to defuse the US-China trade dispute.

But asked about the sharp decline in US stock markets, which fell more than 3 per cent due to concerns over the trade war and the impact on the economy, Ms Lagarde urged patience. "Compared to what we've gone through it's progress," she said.

Ms Lagarde delivered her message about the need for global economic cooperation wrapped in praise for the key leadership role the US plays in the world.

In the economic prosperity that followed World War II, "We learned from the past, got creative, and changed for the better," she said in a lecture at the US Library of Congress.

"None of this would have been possible without the United States. This country challenged the international economic order when it needed challenging. It forged compromise when compromise was necessary." And it was in the US' interest to take a leading role because "a stronger and more stable world paid dividends for the US," she said. - AFP