Major World Trade Patterns: WTO

The world’s most important bilateral flows of world merchandise trade are between China and the United States, and between their respective neighboring economies, reported the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In 2020, the United States imported $ 457 billion worth of goods from China.

Conversely, the flows of goods were worth $ 136 billion.

China’s trade (exports and imports) with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Japan, Taiwan, the Province of China, and the Republic of Korea amounted to $ 1.15 trillion.

World trade

For its part, the United States’ trade with Mexico and Canada was worth roughly the same amount ($ 1.07 trillion).

Meanwhile, intraregional trade was more pronounced in Europe.

In the past year, 68% of all European exports went to trading partners on the same continent.

Likewise, in Asia, this rate was 58 percent. In contrast, in Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and North America, most of the trade was extra-regional.

The value of world merchandise trade in 2020 declined (7.4%) for the second year after two consecutive years of growth.

Global exports amounted to 17.6 trillion, 1.4 trillion less than the previous year, reflecting the effects of Covid-19.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the value of exports is now forecast to rebound in 2021 and grow 22.4 percent.

World exports were distributed in almost equal proportions between the “North” and the “South”.

In 2020, developing economies contributed $ 8.1 trillion and developed economies contributed $ 9.5 trillion to the world total.

Asia and Oceania accounted for 44% of the world’s total merchandise exports, followed by Europe with 38% and America with 16%.

Africa was still underrepresented, accounting for only 2% of the world total.

In 2020, merchandise exports and imports decreased considerably, between 4.4 and 19.3%, in all groups of economies classified by state of development.

The developing economies of Africa experienced a sharp decline in exports and imports, 19.3 and 13.2%, respectively, while the developing economies of America saw their imports fall by 15.2% and their exports by 9.5 percent.


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