Geneva: World trade will grow by nearly 10% this year, rebounding strongly from the economic crisis and shrugging off halting progress in the Doha Round, World Trade Organization (WTO) figures showed on Friday.
WTO said the volume of trade would expand by 9.5% after dropping 12.2% in 2009, the biggest contraction in more than 70 years.
The forecast growth this year comprises 7.5% for developed countries and 11% for developing countries, it said.
The outlook came as WTO’s 153 members decided to push on with negotiations in the Doha Round, launched in late 2001 to free up global commerce and help poor countries prosper through more trade, but tacitly dropped a 2010 deadline for a deal and set no new timetable.
“Although we have made some progress since 2008, there is no denying the fact that we are not where we wanted to be by now,” WTO director-general Pascal Lamy told a meeting of the WTO’s Trade Negotiations Committee.
He told a news conference that no members had called for a suspension of the Doha round.
He added that the revival in world trade this year in the face of continuing protectionist pressures showed the value of the global trading system, which the Doha talks were intended to bring up to date.
Several senior trade diplomats said there was a danger that continuing the negotiations without a deadline could amount to a suspension of the talks by stealth.
Others said that dropping fixed dates and calls for ministerial meetings injected some realism into the talks, which were likely to take two or more years to complete.
Lamy declined to comment on the 2010 deadline, saying it was a matter for the G-20 leaders who had set it.