Slowing global output growth has led WTO economists to downgrade their 2012 forecast for world trade expansion to 2.5% from 3.7% and to scale back their 2013 estimate to 4.5% from 5.6%. WTO economists say employment data in the U.S. and manufacturing data in China and the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis have contributed to easing of global trade growth.
"In an increasingly interdependent world, economic shocks in one region can quickly spread to others. Recently announced measures to reinforce the euro and boost growth in the United States are therefore extremely welcome," said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. "But more needs to be done. We need a renewed commitment to revitalize the multilateral trading system which can restore economic certainty at a time when it is badly needed. The last thing the world economy needs right now is the threat of rising protectionism."
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The WTO says the trade slowdown in the first half of 2012 was driven by an even stronger deceleration in imports of developed countries and by a corresponding weakness in the exports of developing economies, which for the purposes of this analysis includes the Commonwealth of Independent States.