WTO cuts 2011 world export growth forecast to 5.8%

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The World Trade Organization cut on Monday its forecast for growth in exports this year to 5.8 percent due to the worsening outlook for the global economy.

"The outlook for the global economy has worsened considerably in recent months," WTO director Pascal Lamy said in his annual report, and called for renewed efforts to break down trade barriers.

"Global activity is slowing down... World trade has grown more slowly than expected in recent months," the report added.

The WTO reduced its forecast for world export growth in 2011 to 5.8 percent from an earlier estimate of 6.5 percent.

Developed economies' exports are now expected to rise by 3.7 percent rather than 4.5 percent, and those from developing countries by 8.5 percent instead of 9.5 percent.

"In a context of greater economic uncertainty and rising global risks, it is all the more important that the process of global trade opening continues," said Lamy.

WTO members have been labouring for a decade over further trade liberalisation in the Doha round of talks, with industrialised and developing nations failing to agree on the level of cuts on industrial good tariffs and agriculture subsidies.

The report noted a growing perception that trade protectionism is gaining ground in some parts of the world, but said the introduction of new restrictive measures had actually fell.

© 2011 AFP

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