WTO cuts trade outlook, says Russia war risks broader decoupling
Russia’s war with Ukraine will slow the world economy’s nascent rebound from the pandemic, reduce goods trade and potentially lead to a broader splintering of global commerce, the World Trade Organization said. The Geneva-based trade body lowered its projection for growth in merchandise trade this year to 3%, down from its previous projection of 4.7%. The WTO also said Tuesday it expects trade growth of 3.4% in 2023 and cited a number of downside risks to its assessment, including food insecurity and a possible resurgence of the virus. “History teaches us that dividing the world economy into rival blocs and turning our backs on the poorest countries leads neither to prosperity nor to peace,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. “The WTO can play a pivotal role by providing a forum where countries can discuss their differences without resorting to force, and it deserves to be supported in that mission.” The WTO expects world gross domestic product to expand by 2.8% this year, down 1.3 percentage points from the previous forecast of 4.1%. GDP growth should pick up to 3.2% in 2023, close to the average rate of 3% in the decade before the pandemic, the WTO said.