Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report

Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report

News: The World Trade Organisation has published the latest edition of the Global Trade Outlook & Statistics Report.

About WTO
1. Establishment and Purpose:
- The WTO was established in 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement of 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) formed in 1948.
- It regulates and facilitates international trade among nations by providing a platform for negotiating trade agreements that aim to reduce or eliminate tariffs, quotas, and trade barriers.
2. Functions:
- Facilitates trade in goods, services, and intellectual property among member countries.
- Provides a framework for trade negotiations and dispute resolution.
- Administers trade agreements signed by member governments.
3. Membership and Representation:
- The WTO has 164 member states, representing over 96% of global trade and GDP.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
4. Decision-Making:
- Decisions within the WTO are reached by consensus among all 164 member states.
- Each member enjoys veto powers, requiring agreement from all for major decisions.

Highlights of the Report

Aspect Details
World Merchandise Trade Volume Growth 

- Projected to grow 2.6% in 2024 and 3.3% in 2025
- Experienced a decline of -1.2% in 2023 (larger than expected)
Import Demand
- Weak in 2023 across most regions (especially in Europe, North America, and Asia)

- Exceptions: Middle East and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions with surged imports
World Real GDP Growth - Slowed from 3.1% in 2022 to 2.7% in 2023
- Expected to stabilize at 2.6% in 2024 and 2.7% in 2025
Factors Impacting Trade Volume Growth
- Inflationary pressures impacting consumption of trade-intensive goods
- Decline in merchandise exports due to falling commodity prices (e.g., oil and gas)
World Trade Value in 2023 - Merchandise trade fell 5% to US$ 24.01 trillion
- Commercial services trade rose 9% to US$ 7.54 trillion

Factors Contributing to Commercial Services - Recovering international travel
Trade Resilience
- Merchandise trade volume up 6.3% compared to 2019 by end of 2023
- Commercial services annual US$ values increased by 21% between 2019 and 2023
Forecast for 2024-2025 - Inflation expected to abate gradually
- Real incomes to grow in advanced economies, boosting consumption of manufactured goods
- Recovery of demand for tradable goods evident in 2024 due to increased household consumption
Risks to Forecast - Geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty pose downside risks
- Conflict in the Middle East affecting sea shipments between Europe and Asia
- Potential trade fragmentation due to tensions elsewhere

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