Global trade is accelerating, but poorer countries need vaccines to keep up, the W.T.O. says.
  • 5.10.2021

Global trade recovered from its pandemic lows faster than anticipated in the first half of 2021 and is set to grow more quickly than expected next year, lifting global growth forecasts, the World Trade Organization said Monday.

The W.T.O. now forecasts global merchandise trade to grow 10.8 percent in 2021, up from the 8 percent it forecast in March, as the flow of goods recovers from last year’s slump. Global trade is expected to rise 4.7 percent in 2022 as the growth rate approaches its prepandemic trend, the W.T.O. said.

That trade growth has not been equal as a result of the pandemic, the group said, with developing regions in particular lagging behind because of lower vaccination rates, and supply chain disruptions continuing to weigh on trade in some areas.

In remarks on Monday, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the W.T.O. director general, said uneven access to vaccines was exacerbating an economic divergence across regions. She urged the group’s members to come together to agree on a foundation for more rapid vaccine production and equitable distribution.

“This is necessary to sustain the global economic recovery,” she said. “Vaccine policy is economic policy — and trade policy.”

More than six billion doses of the vaccine have been produced and administered worldwide, the W.T.O. said, but only 2.2 percent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

Ana Swanson is based in the Washington bureau and covers trade and international economics for The New York Times. She previously worked at The Washington Post, where she wrote about trade, the Federal Reserve and the economy. @AnaSwanson
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