SEOUL-- Former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Pascal Lamy expressed concerns over increased threats posed by the United States' protectionism. He said the U.S. is also attempting to disturb the WTO's trade dispute settlement function.

"I think countries intending to export to the U.S. may face some difficulties in the future. I have worries about that," Lamy said in a press conference here Friday.

He was the WTO's director-general from 2005-2013 and is currently visiting Seoul to promote France's bid to host the World's Fair in 2025 as the chairman of EXPOFRANCE 2025, which is in charge of promoting the bid.

Asked to comment on the Donald Trump administration's protectionism, Lamy expressed the worries.

"I have also seen some attempts by the U.S. to disrupt the WTO's works, for example its trade settlement organ. I doubt this organ would operate very well," he said. "I think the U.S. could pose a threat to that function of the WTO."

Compared to five years ago, Lamy also said he has seen increased threat of protectionism around the globe partly because of the attitude of the U.S.

But overall, the U.S. has not implemented as many protectionist policy measures as Trump first pledged, he also added.

Despite the U.S. decision to revise its free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea, European countries will retain their FTA with Seoul as it is, he also noted.

"As far as I understand, Europeans have no intention to revise their own agreement, which seems to be working well for both parties, which is what bilateral trade gives out: win win," he added.

Lamy also sought the South Korean government's aid over a French bid to host the world expo in 2025 in Paris-Saclay, a business cluster currently under construction south of Paris.

France is competing with Japan, Russia and Azerbaijan to win the right to host the expo.

With the theme "Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care," France is going to draw as many as 40 million foreign visitors to the expo if it wins the bid, he said. Without spending taxpayer money, France is also seeking to fund the world exhibition entirely with the private sector, he also highlighted.

If it wins the bid, the business cluster in Paris-Saclay will be developed into a new area called "globe" which will be the Eiffel Tower of the 21st century, according to Lamy.

"Science and environment are very important issues in South Korea-France cooperation. I hope my trip here will produce much cooperation" over the French bid, the fate of which will be determined a year later, he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency