Exports and imports will fall in all regions in 2020: WTO

Exports and imports of products will fall in all regions of the world in 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) projected.

The Organization forecasts a 9.2% decrease in the volume of world merchandise trade in 2020, as well as a 4.8% drop in world GDP at market exchange rates.

Trade is projected to recover in 2021, with an increase of 7.2%, and global GDP to grow at an annual rate of 4.9%.

According to the WTO, the smallest declines in exports will probably be registered in Asia (-4.5%), South and Central America (-7.7%) and other regions (-9.5%), while in Europe (-11.7%) and North America (-14.7%) is expected to decline further.

Regarding imports, single-digit declines are expected for Asia (-4.4%) and North America (-8.7%), while they would be double-digit in Europe (-10.3%), South and Central America (-13.5%) and other regions (-16.0 percent).

Trade (exports and imports) should return to growth in all regions in 2021, with the highest growth in those that suffered the greatest declines in 2020.

In particular, exports are estimated to increase 10.7% in North America, 8.2% in Europe, 6.1% in other regions, 5.7% in Asia and 5.4% in South and Central America.


For imports, growth of 8.7% is expected in Europe, 6.7% in North America, 6.5% in South and Central America, 6.2% in Asia and 5.6% in other regions.

Volume of merchandise trade and real GDP, 2015-2021a

The WTO noted that these estimates are subject to considerable uncertainty, as they largely depend on how the pandemic evolves and the effectiveness of policy responses.

Maintaining the recovery in the medium term may depend on the resilience of the investment, which could be weakened if confidence is damaged by new outbreaks of Covid-19.

The arrival in several countries of the second waves of infection makes the risk of deterioration of the situation great, although there is some possibility that an improvement will be registered if effective medical treatments are available in the coming months.


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