The World Trade Organization said Thursday that it expects strong trade growth through this year and next but warned progress would be “undermined” if governments implement threatened protectionist measures.
The WTO forecast 4.4 percent growth in trade volume this year and a more moderate four percent expansion in 2019.
But the body's director-general Roberto Azevedo cautioned that “this important progress could be quickly undermined if governments resort to restrictive trade policies, especially in a tit-for-tat process that could lead to an unmanageable escalation.”
“A cycle of retaliation is the last thing the world economy needs,” he added in a statement.
Last year saw the most robust rise in trade volume expansion since 2011, raising hope that the world economy was finally on a sustained path to recovery following the financial crisis.
In its latest forecast, the WTO said risks “had appeared to be more balanced than at any time since the financial crisis,” but noted that uncertainty was rising again, according to APP.
The extent of any protectionist measures that will be implemented by the world's top economies remains uncertain.