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Trade has always been a key tool in the fight against the epidemic. The current strong growth highlights the importance of trade in supporting the global economic recovery.
On October 4, the World Trade Organization (WTO) released the latest issue of "Trade Statistics and Prospects." The report pointed out that in the first half of 2021, global economic activity further recovered, and merchandise trade exceeded the peak before the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. Based on this, WTO economists raised their forecasts for global trade in 2021 and 2022. In the context of the overall strong growth of global trade, there are significant differences between countries, and some developing regions are far below the global average.
According to the WTO’s current forecast, global merchandise trade volume will increase by 10.8% in 2021, higher than the organization’s forecast of 8.0% in March this year, and will increase by 4.7% in 2022. As global merchandise trade approaches the long-term trend before the epidemic, growth should slow. Supply-side issues such as semiconductor shortages and port backlogs may put pressure on the supply chain and put pressure on trade in specific regions, but they are unlikely to have a significant impact on global trade volume.
The high annual growth rate of global merchandise trade in 2021 is mainly due to the recession in global trade in 2020. Due to the low base, the second quarter of 2021 will increase by 22.0% year-on-year, but it is expected that the third and fourth quarters will drop to year-on-year growth of 10.9% and 6.6%. The WTO expects global GDP to grow by 5.3% in 2021, higher than the 5.1% forecast in March this year. By 2022, this growth rate will slow to 4.1%.
At present, the downside risks of global commodity trade are still very prominent, including the tight global supply chain and the situation of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. It is expected that the regional gap in the rebound of global merchandise trade will remain large. In 2021, Asian imports will increase by 9.4% over 2019, while imports from the least developed countries will fall by 1.6%. Global trade in services may lag behind trade in goods, especially in industries related to tourism and leisure.
The biggest uncertainty in global merchandise trade comes from the epidemic. The WTO’s current latest upward forecast of global merchandise trade depends on a series of assumptions, including accelerated production and distribution of vaccines. More than 6 billion doses of vaccines have been produced and used throughout the world. Unfortunately, this is still not enough. There are huge differences in access to vaccine services between countries. So far, only 2.2% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of the new crown vaccine. This difference may create space for the emergence and spread of mutant strains of the new coronavirus, or lead to the re-implementation of sanitary control measures that reduce economic activity.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonyo-Avira said: “Trade has always been a key tool in the fight against the epidemic. The current strong growth highlights the importance of trade in supporting the global economic recovery. However, the issue of unfair access to vaccines is ongoing. Intensifying economic divisions in various regions, the longer this inequality lasts, the greater the possibility of more dangerous variants of the new coronavirus, which may set back the health and economic progress we have made so far. WTO members We must unite and reach an agreement on a strong WTO response to the epidemic, which will lay the foundation for faster vaccine production and fair distribution, and is necessary to maintain the global economic recovery.” (Reporter Yang Haiquan)
source: international online
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