The Geneva-based organization predicted Wednesday that even the most optimistic scenario for this year was that trade would slump by 13%, a bigger fall than in the 2008-09 recession triggered by the banking crisis.
“As we face what may well be the deepest economic recession or downturn of our lifetimes,” WTO chief Roberto Azevedo warned in a statement on Wednesday.
"World trade is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world."
Azevedo said the pandemic’s long-term effects are difficult to discern. “These numbers are ugly — there is no getting around that,” he said.
"The unavoidable declines in trade and output will have painful consequences for households and businesses, on top of the human suffering caused by the disease itself," he added.