WTO Expects 2003 Trade Growth Of Less Than 3%

Jan. 13, 2005
By John S. McClenahen The presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), continuing global economic weakness and the impact of the Iraq war could combine to keep world trade growth below 3% this year, says the Geneva-based World Trade ...
ByJohn S. McClenahen The presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), continuing global economic weakness and the impact of the Iraq war could combine to keep world trade growth below 3% this year, says the Geneva-based World Trade Organization (WTO). That would make this year essentially a repeat of 2002, when world merchandise trade rose 2.5% after adjusting for inflation. In 2001, the amount of merchandise trade taking place around the world declined 1%. Global merchandise exports rose 4% to US$6.24 trillion in 2002, and commercial services trade increased 5% to $1.54 trillion, says the WTO. During 2002, U.S. imports increased by 3%, but exports decreased by nearly 4% as key American trading partners such as Japan and Western Europe were barely growing economically and some Latin America economies were actually contracting. "Lack of price competitiveness might also have played a major role as U.S. exports decreased even to those regions where imports grew strongly," adds the WTO.

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