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World

WTO slashes trade growth estimate

The World Trade Organization on Tuesday cut its 2019 trade growth forecast to 1.2 percent. Washington and Beij
Published October 1, 2019
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  • The World Trade Organization on Tuesday cut its 2019 trade growth forecast to 1.2 percent.
  • Washington and Beijing have so far been unable to reach a comprehensive deal that would remove trade barriers.
  • The WTO cautioned on Tuesday that "further rounds of tariffs and retaliation could produce a destructive cycle of recrimination."

 

GENEVA: The World Trade Organization on Tuesday cut its 2019 trade growth forecast to 1.2 percent, a sharp downgrade on the 2.6-percent rise predicted in April, which the body blamed on escalating trade tensions.

"The darkening outlook for trade is discouraging but not unexpected," WTO director general Roberto Azevedo said in a statement.

At its main annual forecast in April, WTO economists warned that systemic threats to global trade -- notably retaliatory tariffs between China and the United States -- would continue to hamper the flow of goods.

Washington and Beijing have so far been unable to reach a comprehensive deal that would remove trade barriers, while President Donald Trump is reportedly mulling severe new restrictions on investment in China.

The WTO cautioned on Tuesday that "further rounds of tariffs and retaliation could produce a destructive cycle of recrimination."

"Trade conflicts heighten uncertainty, which is leading some businesses to delay the productivity-enhancing investments that are essential to raising living standards," Azevedo said.

He further warned that job creation could also be threatened "as firms employ fewer workers to produce goods and services for export."

 

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