The Halt In Global Trade Growth And The Rise Of Neo-Mercantilism

by Marcello Minenna

The process of globalization is in retreat. The latest victim of the global economic slowdown is international trade: after tumultuous growth in the last 26 years, disrupted only temporarily by the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the estimated volume of goods and services traded globally has been stalled for more than 18 months around $13 trillion. So long a period of stasis has never been experienced by the world economy before. Of course, there have been some slowdowns in the expansion of trade due to recessions or severe regional crises, but acceleration in key areas has more than offset the decline recorded elsewhere.

For example, after the international collapse in trade of 2009, growth rates in developed countries halved, but the volumes globally traded continued to expand, sustained by the boom in emerging economies. The observable data (taken from CBP Netherlands Bureau for Economic policy analysis database, probably the most accurate data repository publicly available) clearly highlights how emerging economies have suffered more from the collapse in trade post-Lehman Brothers, and how the same countries have quickly recovered lost ground, increasing their weight in the global market.

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