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In an introduction to the publication, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences across the world. Millions of people have lost their lives, and large sections of the world's population, particularly in developing and least developed countries, remain unvaccinated.  The worst economic downturn since the 1930s has disrupted livelihoods and businesses around the world. Extreme poverty and hunger are on the rise, and employment is well below the pre-crisis trend.”

“This publication presents recent trends in world trade and seeks to provide statistical insights on the trade impact of COVID-19.”

The report highlights that the value of world merchandise exports declined by 8 per cent while services trade contracted by 21 per cent in 2020, with the most severe impacts of the pandemic being felt in the second quarter of the year. Trade began to recover as of mid-2020, but with major differences across regions and sectors. The recovery of merchandise trade was mostly due to trade in manufactured goods while services trade continues to be weighed down by continued COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

“A full recovery for international travel, and for global trade in general, depends on rapid, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world,” stresses DG Okonjo-Iweala.

The report's analytical chapters are complemented by numerous statistical tables providing a detailed breakdown of various aspects of merchandise trade and trade in commercial services. 

The merchandise trade data in the report were compiled in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) while commercial services data were jointly produced with UNCTAD and in cooperation with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Statistics Division.

The publication can be downloaded here. All charts and tables may be downloaded in Excel.

French and Spanish editions will be available for download in September. Printed copies will also be available in September.

Additional data are available through the WTO statistics webpage and the WTO DATA Portal. Time series data on merchandise and commercial services trade, on an annual basis, may also be downloaded here.

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