WTO head calls for efforts to resist protectionism
G20 countries should "redouble their efforts to keep their markets open," Pascal Lamy said, acknowledging that new trade restrictive measures slowed
New trade restrictive measures have slowed down in the G20 over the past five months but at a time of continuous economic difficulties, trade frictions seem to be increasing, the director of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a report on trade measures in the G20.
Lamy urged governments to redouble their efforts to keep their markets open, and to advance trade opening as a way to counter slowing global economic growth.
The WTO cut its forecast for growth in world trade this year to 2.5% from a previous forecast of 3.7% and for next year to 4.5% from the previous estimate of 5.6%.
Emerging and developing economies exports should expand at a faster-than-average rate of 3.5% this year, when developed economies exports are expected to growth by just 1.5%, according to WTO estimates.
On the import side, developing and emerging economies should continue to outperform with growth of 5.6% this year, when imports of developed economies are seen edging up by only 0.4%.
The recent deceleration in developed economies imports has been driven by falling demand in the European Union, which represents nearly 60% of developed economies total imports, the WTO said.
It is also the worlds largest merchandise importer, absorbing around 35% of the world exports, so it is not surprising that the recent slump in EU import demand has contributed to lackluster export performances on the part of many other G20 economies, it added.
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Global merchandise exported rose by 3.1% in the first six months of the year from the same period in 2011, with exports of developing and emerging economies advancing by 4.8% and those from developed economies by 1.6%.
Average world imports grew 2.3% in the first half of the year, when emerging economies imports were up 6.1% but developed countries fell by 0.3%.Between the first quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2012, imports by developing economies increased by 18%, while developed economies only managed a 7% increase, the data showed.