Saturday 18 January 2020

Global trade down 12pc last year: WTO

Jonathan Stearns

Global commerce contracted around 12pc in volume terms last year, more than a previous estimate of 10pc, said World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy.

This is “the sharpest decline since the end of the Second World War,” Lamy told a conference in Brussels today. “A huge drop.”

World trade is “picking up,” he said, without giving a forecast for this year. It’s too soon to know whether the current upward trend is “short-term” or “sustainable,” he said

On another matter, Lamy refused to predict when Russia might complete talks to join the WTO.

Russia, the largest economy outside the Geneva-based trade arbiter, said last month the US has failed to respond to an offer to jumpstart stalled negotiations on the matter.

“The timetable for accession I don’t know,” Lamy said. “I wouldn’t venture into any prediction on this. Accession negotiations are a complex process.”


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