WTO predicts coronavirus downturn to be worse than 2008

WTO predicts coronavirus downturn to be worse than 2008

The World Trade Organization’s chief Roberto Azevedo said that projections show the economic downturn and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic would be worse than the 2008 recession.

“This pandemic will inevitably have an enormous impact on the economy...” the WTO director-general said in a video message filmed from his home and posted on the website of the body that creates rules for global commerce.

“Recent projections predict an economic downturn and job losses that are worse than the global financial crisis a dozen years ago,” he added.

Azevedo said concrete forecasts were not yet available, but the WTO’s in-house economists expected “a very sharp decline in trade”.

However, he said countries could take important steps to limit immediate economic damage and lay the foundations for a long-term recovery, urging them to work together.

“Coordinating efforts will increase our collective recession-fighting power,” Reuters cited him as saying.

Azevedo praised stimulus measures taken by governments as “positive”, without naming countries, and also urged WTO members to be transparent and share information.

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