WTO raises concern about trade barriers

The WTO recently published its annual World Trade Report. This year’s report examines the role of international trade in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time: maintaining peace and security, reducing poverty and inequality, and achieving a sustainable economy.

The report analyses the benefits of re-globalization as well as the risks of fragmentation of the multilateral trading system. It argues that, in order to make our economies more secure, inclusive and sustainable, re-globalization —integrating more people, economies and pressing issues into global trade and strengthening multilateral cooperation— is a much more effective solution to global challenges than fragmentation.

The report raises concerns about the proliferation of trade tensions and skepticism towards international trade on the part of policymakers. In particular, the report points out the rising use of subsidies by governments, which has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of countervailing measures undertaken by WTO members.

Moreover, the report finds that trade costs in developing economies remain nearly 30% higher than in high-income economies, and that trade costs in agriculture are 50% higher than those in manufacturing.

Finally, the report explores the complex interplay between trade and environmental sustainability and underscores the need for more trade and more cooperation to address effectively the most pressing challenges of our time.

The primary conclusion of the report is that international trade, anchored in a strengthened multilateral trading system, plays an indispensable role in creating a more secure, inclusive and sustainable world.

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