Global goods trade volumes will expand by only 1.7% this year, before accelerating to 3.2% next year, barring new downside surprises, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in its annual report.
The restrained trade echoes the declining growth seen in the gross domestic product (GDP) across developed and developing economies, WTO said, adding that given the present economic challenges, there is an urgent need for multilateral trade cooperation to resist fragmentation, reinforcing growth and productivity.
Last year brought another wave of upheaval for the world economy and global trade. Covid started to recede, but a succession of crises, including persistent inflation, climate change, food insecurity, and numerous conflicts, tested the international community, the trade body said.
Despite growing geopolitical tensions casting a shadow over global affairs, trade remained a robust pillar supporting resilience and recovery, WTO said, adding that global goods and services trade hit a record $31.4 trillion during the year.
“Overconcentration has revealed real vulnerabilities in global supply chains. However, the most significant issues stem not from trade itself but from overconcentration. The solution is not to produce everything domestically, creating its own vulnerabilities, but to encourage deeper, more diversified and de-concentrated supply chains. This approach, which we are dubbing ‘re-globalization,’ would make trade more inclusive and even more resilient,” WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.
From January to June 2022, WTO members launched 48 new anti-dumping investigations, marking a significant decline of nearly 58% from the 115 initiated during the same period in 2021, the report said.
The US, followed by India, led in terms of initiating these investigations in the first half of 2022, accounting for roughly 54% of new investigations, compared with 68% during the same period in 2021.
Steel products continued to be a primary focus in the WTO’s committee on anti-dumping practices, the report added.
China raised concerns about 5G measures in Australia, US policies related to mobile applications and telecom operators, and Indian regulations on investment approvals and mobile applications.
The report said that while Canada, the European Union (EU), and the US questioned India’s import requirements on certain pulses, the EU, Indonesia, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and the US queried New Delhi’s import licensing regime for pneumatic tyres.
The Committee on Trade-related Investment Measures (TRIMs) is engaged in discussions on alleged import restrictions by India on air conditioners and by Indonesia on carpets, textiles, and air conditioners, the report added.
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