The 1.7 per cent growth in world merchandise trade volume will be accompanied by real GDP growth of 2.2 per cent at market exchange rates. “This would be the slowest pace of trade and output growth since the financial crisis,” the WTO said in its latest estimate for 2016.
Trade growth was weaker than expected in the first half of 2016 due to falling import demand and slowing GDP growth in several major developing economies as well as in North America.
“The dramatic slowing of trade growth is serious and should serve as a wake-up call. It is particularly concerning in the context of growing anti-globalisation sentiment. We need to make sure that this does not translate into misguided policies that could make the situation much worse, not only from the perspective of trade but also for job creation and economic growth and development which are so closely linked to an open trading system,” said WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo.
For world trade growth in 2017, WTO has provided a range of 1.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent to reflect potential changes in the relationship between trade and output. “Certain trade-related indicators have improved, including export orders and container port throughput, but overall momentum in trade remains weak,” the report says.
“While the benefits of trade are clear, it is also clear that they need to be shared more widely. We should seek to build a more inclusive trading system that goes further to support poorer countries to take part and benefit, as well as entrepreneurs, small companies, and marginalised groups in all economies. This is a moment to heed the lessons of history and re-commit to openness in trade, which can help to spur economic growth,” Azevêdo said. (RKS)
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