The volume of world trade will grow by 2.6% year-on-year in 2019, four tenths less than in 2018, although "if commercial tensions are eased", trade could pick up and increase by 3% in 2020, according to the forecasts published today. World Trade Organization (WTO).
The tariff dispute between the two largest world economies, China and the US, and the doubts in Europe over the "brexit" are factors of this slowdown, said in the presentation of the forecasts the general director of the WTO, Roberto Azevedo.
"Trade can not fully play its role as a driver of growth" because of these tensions, added the head of the WTO, an organization that predicts an increase of 2.6% in world GDP in both 2019 and 2020, compared to 2.9% registered in 2018.
According to the WTO analysis, in 2019 and 2020 "strong winds will continue to blow against" world trade, which judging by the projections will affect more developed countries, whose trade will grow below the average (their exports will increase by 2.1% in 2019 and 2.5% in 2020).
For developing countries, driven by emerging powers such as China, India or Brazil, it is estimated that exports will grow 3.4% year-on-year in 2019 and 3.7% in 2020.
The WTO considers it difficult to quantify the effects of the China-US trade war on global exchanges, since this will depend on the tariff measures that come into force, although it underlines that even the mere threats that have been exchanged between Beijing and Washington are damaging trade to the United States. contribute to uncertainty.
The most pessimistic scenario predicts that a total trade war between the US and China, the two largest exporters and global importers, could cause global GDP to fall by 2% and trade by 17% in 2022.
Those figures would be even worse than those of the great global financial crisis of 2008, which generated a contraction of world trade of 12% in 2009 and a reduction of 2% in world GDP.
"In this war there would not be a winner and a loser, but many losers, everyone would be harmed by a brake on global trade," said Azevedo.
The general director expressed in any case his hope that the negotiations between Washington and Beijing achieve a good result, and clarified that the WTO does not seek to mediate or interfere in these talks.