WTO warns of a global economic divide

The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned of the risk of a division of the global economy into rival blocs within the context of the war in Ukraine, and urged countries not to restrict trade in this period of crisis.

“The war in Ukraine has caused immense human suffering, but it has also hurt the world economy at a critical time,” said Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweal, at the annual presentation of international trade projections.

“History teaches us that dividing the world economy into rival blocs and turning our backs on the poorest countries does not lead to prosperity or peace. The WTO can play a critical role in providing a forum where countries can discuss their differences without resorting to force,” he added.

WTO economists used simulations to generate reasonable assumptions about GDP growth in 2022 and 2023. According to them, global GDP is expected to grow 2.8% in 2022, after expanding by 5.7% in 2021. GDP growth would pick up to 3.2% in 2023.

The volume of world merchandise trade would increase 3% in 2022 (when the WTO forecast in October a rise of 4.7 and 3.4% in 2023) but these figures may be modified as a result of the uncertainty due to the war.

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