“The disappointing trade figures for 2001 and the first half of 2002
underscore the importance of making progress in the Doha Development
Agenda negotiations. While the depressed levels for imports and
exports reflect macroeconomic factors, it is evident that policy
measures must be taken to bolster confidence and provide the
underlying assurances necessary to foster higher levels of growth. One
such measure would be for political leaders to send a strong signal to
consumers, producers and markets that they intend to move forward in
the area of further trade liberalization through the DDA. These
negotiations have begun reasonably well, but the time has arrived for
concrete proposals which will advance the talks to the next stage. The
deadline for these talks is 1 January 2005 and there are many
intermediate negotiating deadlines between now and then. It is
essential that these deadlines be met and that these talks stay on
course. In an uncertain and divided world, development of a common set
of trade rules and principles for 21st century is vital”.
from the WTO International Trade Statistics Report
economic activity strengthened in the first half of 2002 and world
trade started to recover from the first quarter onwards. Despite
this turnaround at the beginning of the year, the dollar value of
world merchandise exports remained at 4 percent below the
preceding year’s level. In the first six months of 2002 imports
of the EU and the United States decreased by 6 percent while those
of Japan and Latin America decreased at double digit rates. China
and the Russian Federation, however, sharply increased their
imports by 10 and 7 percent respectively.
that the momentum of the recovery in OECD countries and in
developing Asia is maintained in the last two quarters of this
year, the volume of world merchandise trade is projected to expand
by 1 percent in 2002. The increase in the dollar prices (on a year
to year basis) in the second half of 2002 is expected to be
broadly based, affecting all the major product groups,
manufactured goods, crude oil and non-fuel products.
year 2001 witnessed the first decline in the volume of world
merchandise trade since 1982 and the first decrease in world
merchandise output since 1991. Global GDP growth edged up only by
about 1 percent due to a more resilient services sector.
Developments in 2001 represented a dramatic change in comparison
to the previous year, when trade and output recorded their best
performance in more than a decade.
simultaneous decline in economic activity in the major developed
markets, the bursting of the investment bubble in the information
and communication technology sector, the sharp corrections
experienced in all major stock market indices and the tragic
events of September 11 all contributed to this outcome.
sectors of trade were affected by the global downturn.
Manufactured exports slumped by 2.5 percent, while trade
growth in agricultural and mining products was limited to 1.5
percent, markedly less than in the preceding year.
America recorded the strongest decrease among all regions in
merchandise export and import volume (by 5 per cent and 3.5 per
cent respectively) in 2001. Asia’s export decline was second
only to that of North America, and imports decreased by as much as
the global average. Imports of Western Europe shrank by 3 per
cent, which was faster than the decline in exports of 1 percent.
transition economies recorded an outstanding trade growth
performance in an adverse global environment. A further
strengthening of trade and investment links between the EU and
Central and Eastern Europe contributed largely to this outcome.
Africa and the Middle East expanded their imports, despite a fall
in fuel prices in 2001.
dollar value of world merchandise trade decreased by 4.5 per cent,
the steepest decline in more than a decade. For commercial
services, the marginal decline observed in 2001 was the first
burst of the IT bubble was the principal factor causing a steep
fall in world exports of office and telecom equipment (nearly 14
percent). Non-ferrous metals, fuels and iron and steel recorded
also above average declines.
2001, the year in which China joined the WTO, that country’s
trade performance remained outstandingly strong for both
merchandise and services trade. In the ranking of merchandise
exporters and importers, China became number four ahead of Canada
(counting the EU as one trader). China’s commercial services
exports and imports rose by 9 percent, while global services trade
share of developing countries in world exports of merchandise
decreased to 29 percent in 2001, but remained well above the level
in 1995 which was close to 26 percent. The share of developing
countries in world merchandise imports stagnated at 26 percent,
and has yet to recover to its previous peak in 1997.
small number of developing countries weigh heavily in determining
developing countries’ merchandise trade performance. Five out of
150 developing countries account for more than 60 percent of
developing countries’ manufactured goods exports. The country
concentration of developing country exports — as measured by the
top five exporters — has increased in the 1990s , largely due to
strong trade growth in China and Mexico.
an adverse environment in which world trade has contracted,
falling commodity prices, and the slowdown of demand in major
developed regions, the least developed county group managed to
expand both its exports and imports. A strong export expansion in
the volume of both primary and manufactured goods more than offset
the impact of weaker prices for many primary commodities. The
group of 8 LDCs which exports principally manufactured goods
expanded their exports in dollar terms by nearly 10 percent.
share of the combined intra-trade of the four largest regional
trade agreements in world merchandise trade increased to 36
percent in 2001. This is due to the slight increase in the share
of intra-EU trade in EU total trade, while the share of
intra-trade decreased for NAFTA, ASEAN and MERCOSUR.
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