The WTO expects that global trade will continue to rebound this year and next. At present, factors such as the regional differences in trade recovery and the delayed vaccination of the new crown vaccine in the world, especially in poor countries, will increase the uncertainty of the outlook for global trade.
The annual "Global Trade Data and Outlook" report released by the World Trade Organization a few days ago shows that due to factors such as the new crown pneumonia epidemic, global trade in goods will decline by 5.3% in 2020. This performance is better than the 9.2% decline forecast made by the WTO in October last year. The Asian region has become the only region where exports of goods have maintained positive growth, while China continues to become the world's largest exporter and second largest importer, with import and export trade volumes accounting for 11.5% and 14.7% of the world's total. The World Trade Organization predicts that as the epidemic slows down and vaccination is accelerated, global trade in goods will increase by 8.0% and 4.0% respectively this year and next.
Global trade in goods shows resilience
WTO analysis believes that the momentum of global trade has improved, partly because the promotion of new crown vaccination work has increased the confidence of enterprises and consumers.
Since the second half of last year, the effects of economic stimulus measures introduced by major economies have gradually emerged, and the recovery of consumption has stimulated import growth. Many companies have gradually adapted to epidemic prevention measures, found innovative ways to deal with them, and maintained their business operations. China and some other Asian economies have effectively contained the epidemic, eased the impact of the epidemic on the economy, and maintained the scale of imports, which helped support global demand and avoided a more serious decline in global trade.
"Since the middle of last year, the rebound in global trade has eased the impact of the epidemic on the economy, businesses, and people. Keeping the international market open is essential to global economic recovery. The rapid and fair distribution of vaccines globally is a strong and sustained recovery. The prerequisites for this.” said Oconjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
The WTO report shows that global trade will continue to recover this year. In terms of demand, North America will become the main region that stimulates global demand for trade in goods in 2021. Imports of goods are expected to increase by 11.4%, and imports from Europe and South America are expected to increase by 8%. From the perspective of supply, the volume of exported goods in Asia is expected to increase by 8.4%, and exports from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East are also expected to increase by more than 8% respectively.
The WTO believes that if the production and distribution of vaccines progress smoothly, it is optimistic that this year can boost the global economy to increase by 1% on the basis of forecasts, and promote an additional 2.5% increase in global trade in goods. By the fourth quarter of this year, global trade will return to normal before the epidemic. The level of growth.
"The resumption of growth in global trade is good news, which is conducive to ensuring the security of the global supply chain, and also conducive to the recovery and growth of the global economy." Guinea, a senior economist at the European Center for International Political Economy Research, told our reporter that global trade in goods Demonstrating resilience, withstanding the impact of the epidemic, accelerating the digitalization of trade, and the global flow of medical supplies, all of which demonstrate the great value of international trade and global supply chains.
Trade facilitation measures continue to be introduced
In the face of the impact of the epidemic, many international organizations such as the WTO have introduced trade facilitation measures to ensure the supply of anti-epidemic materials, promote electronic trade, and make every effort to ensure the normal development of global trade.
In March this year, the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee initiated the review of the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement for the first time. The "Trade Facilitation Agreement" came into effect in February 2017. The main contents include speeding up cargo transportation, customs clearance, increasing cooperation between member customs to facilitate trade, providing technical assistance, and strengthening capacity building. According to the assessment of the WTO, the current implementation rate of WTO agreements is 69.7%. If the agreement measures can be fully implemented, the cost of trade can be reduced by another 14.3%, and the annual trade volume will be increased by 1 trillion US dollars.
During the epidemic prevention and control period, e-commerce has developed rapidly, which has played a huge role in promoting trade and economic growth, and promoting inclusive and sustainable development. At present, the digital transformation of the world economy is accelerating, and e-commerce and digital economy industries have become new engines that promote economic and trade recovery. At present, the WTO is actively advancing e-commerce negotiations with a view to achieving substantial progress before the end of this year.
In order to support the growth of air cargo and the recovery of the aviation industry, ICAO supported 10 Latin American countries in signing air cargo liberalization agreements. The organization stated that it hopes to promote the development of a regional cooperation agreement into a more permanent global agreement. In addition, the International Civil Aviation Organization has issued a number of guidance documents such as the Manual of Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures to promote the safe movement of people, increase cargo transportation, and ensure the safe transportation and distribution of vaccines.
According to a report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development not long ago, according to statistics on 125 economies, during the epidemic prevention and control period, trade facilitation measures introduced by various countries have promoted the recovery of global trade. The report emphasizes that trade facilitation is essential to ensure the global supply of basic medical equipment, food, and information technology.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development pointed out that relying on digital technology, current trade in goods, customs clearance, and tariff collection can be completed paperless and contactless. It is recommended that customs departments of various countries adopt transparent, convenient and efficient inspection methods.
Oconcho-Iveara took the global industrial chain of the new crown vaccine as an example, calling on all WTO members to continue to promote the establishment of an open trading system. She said that resolving issues related to the epidemic, reforming the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism, and modernizing multilateral trade rules are the WTO's current priorities.