Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Roberto Azevedo warned that the global economy could plunge into "Dark Ages" in the absence of free trade, while speaking at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Thursday.

"[If] the WTO and the global trading system is out of the picture, we're in for the 'Dark Ages,' I guarantee you that," Azevedo said.

Azevedo also addressed the fashion in which the rise of populism and nationalism around the globe was introducing setbacks into the international trading system, as politicians would often blame trade as the source for domestic problems.

"That's an easy fix. You'll find a foreign problem and you blame it on that when in fact the real problem is domestic," he said.

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