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WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo speaks at 2016 WTO Forum WTO

Global trade growth slows as tensions continue

WTO said trade growth could rebound in 2020 if trade tensions ease.

World trade will continue to face strong headwinds in 2019 and 2020 after growing more slowly than expected in 2018 due to rising trade tensions and increased economic uncertainty. World Trade Organization (WTO) economists expect merchandise trade volume growth to fall to 2.6% in 2019 — down from 3.0% in 2018. Trade growth could then rebound to 3.0% in 2020; however, this is dependent on an easing of trade tensions.

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