The risk of the worst case scenario prevails, due to difficulties in global supply chains and a possible outbreak of covid.

World merchandise trade exceeded its pre-pandemic level, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Monday, which revised upwards its trade projections for 2021 and 2022, despite tensions in supply chains.

According to new WTO estimates, the volume of world merchandise trade should increase 10.8% in 2021 and 4.7% next year. In March, the organization forecast an increase of 8% and 4%, respectively.

The strong annual increase in merchandise trade in 2021 is partly explained by last year’s slump, when trade bottomed out in the second quarter. According to the WTO economists, this growth will moderate as exchanges return to the long-term trend that they maintained before the covid-19 pandemic.

“Supply-related difficulties, such as semiconductor shortages and port delays, may strain supply chains and affect trade in certain areas, but are unlikely to have a major impact on global aggregates” , estimate.


In summary, the WTO points out, the current forecasts are close to the optimistic scenario set out in the latest trade forecasts.

But nevertheless, the risk of the pessimistic scenario predominates, due mainly to the difficulties in global supply chains and a possible outbreak of the covid.

“Trade has been an essential tool in fighting the pandemic, and this strong growth underscores the importance of trade in underpinning the global economic recovery,” said the institution’s director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

However, the person in charge reveals a great divergence between countries, since some developing regions are far from reaching the world average.

Imports from Asia, for example, will increase 9.4% in 2021 compared to 2019, while in the least developed countries (LDCs) they will decrease 1.6% in the same period.

Overall, the recovery of trade varies greatly depending on the region. The Middle East, South America and Africa seem headed for a lower resumption in exports. At the level of imports, it will be the Middle East and Africa that will go slower.

“Inequitable access to vaccines is exacerbating economic divergence across regions. The longer vaccination inequity persists, the greater the chance that even more dangerous variants of covid-19 will emerge, reversing the health and economic progress achieved to date,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reiterated.

According to the WTO, more than 6,000 million doses of anti-covid vaccines have been administered in the world, “a remarkable achievement, but unfortunately still insufficient, due to the marked differences in access between the different countries.”

Ahead of the organization’s next ministerial conference, from November 30 to December 3, “members must meet and agree on a strong response from the WTO to the pandemic, which lays the foundations for a production faster delivery of vaccines and equitable distribution,” continued the Nigerian official.

“It is necessary to sustain the global economic recovery. Policies related to vaccines are economic policies and also commercial ones,” he insisted.