WTO projects slower growth rates for the world trade

In September 2013, the World Trade Organization (WTO) downgraded its projection1 for growth in global trade volumes of goods for 2013 and 2014 as compared to its projection made in April 2013.

For instance, a growth of 2.5% is estimated in 2013 against 3.3% (in the April projection). In 2014 global trade growth is estimated to accelerate up to 4.5% (against a previously projected growth of 5.0%) but remain beyond the average over the past two decades (5.4%).


The WTO changed its forecasts mainly due to the situation in the European economy which was expected to recover in Q2 2013, but the dynamics were very weak: GDP increased by 0.3% in the Eurozone (EA17) and 0.4% in EU-27 against the previous quarter, according to the second estimate published by Eurostat. In Q1 2013 growth rates were -0.2% and -0.1% respectively. Former General Secretary Pascal Lamy warned in April 2013 that risks which are coming from the Eurozone might become the key cause of lower forecast values for global trade volumes.


Decline in growth rates in global trade has been caused mostly by severe macroeconomic indicators, however, there are good grounds for believing that protectionism is also responsible for this, which has constantly been taking new forms. In spite of G20 counties' repeatedly made statements about the importance of free trade, trade protectionism has been increasing from year to year. Such measures are explained by the need to protect the national industry, large enterprises, employment, personal income, and retain competitive advantages. For instance, 109 protectionist measures (which are in line with the WTO standards) covering 0.4% of imports of goods worldwide2 have been initiated over the last six months.


Antidumping probes and temporary increase in customs tariffs are the most widely used trade protectionist measures. For example, Argentina, India, and Brazil initiated 10, 15, and 18 antidumping probes respectively in the period of October 2012 thru April 2013.

In accordance with the WTO monitoring of trade protectionism which has been adopted by the WTO member countries since October 2008 to date, G20 countries introduced 723 protectionist measures, including 77 measures at the Russian Federation (10.7% of the total number of the measures taken).

Volovik N. P., Head of Foreign Trade Department


1 http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres13_e/pr694_e.htm