The World Trade Organization (WTO) expects international trade to grow faster this year than previously estimated. The recovery after the severe blow of the corona pandemic threatens to be distributed unevenly.
That’s because the recovery depends on vaccination programs, but poorer countries barely have access to corona vaccines.
International trade in goods will grow by 8 percent this year compared to 2020. Last year, world trade shrank by 5.3 percent on an annual basis, according to the WTO. These are more positive figures than the organization calculated in October. Then the Geneva-based international trade arbitrator predicted world trade would grow 7.2 percent in 2021, after shrinking 9.2 percent in 2020.
Among other things, the news that vaccines were effective against the coronavirus gave world trade a boost in the last months of 2020. As a result, companies regained confidence in economic recovery, so that they dared to spend more.
For this year, the WTO is still holding back. Covid-19 is still a significant threat to world trade, for example, if waves of contamination with new virus variants occur. In order to allow poorer countries to participate in the recovery, they would also have to receive more vaccines than is currently the case.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said vaccines provide the world with an opportunity to quickly get the economy back to pre-pandemic levels. “But that opportunity will be wasted if a large number of countries and people do not have equal access to vaccines,” she added.