Global trade growth could slacken this year given a forecast slowdown in the world economy, but Chinese exports will continue to gain market share, the World Trade Organization said on April 12. "The reduced pace of global economic activity will imply lower trade growth which is expected to average maybe around 6% in 2007," the WTO's chief economist Patrick Low said.
Trade growth reached 8% in 2006, accelerating by two percentage points over 2005, the WTO said. The growth in overall demand in the U.S. is expected to remain weak in the first half of the year, while Japan and Europe are not expected to post as impressive economic performances as in 2006, Low added.
China, however, should remain a growth powerhouse, and is set to overtake the U.S. to become the world's second largest exporter of merchandise goods. In the second half of the year, they actually surpassed those of the United States.
Chinese merchandise exports rose 27% in 2006 to $969 billion, behind the U.S. on $1.037 trillion and Germany with $1.112 trillion.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007