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International trade as an engine for development

Note: 2017 partly estimated, 2018-2019 forecasts.

The value of total merchandise trade in 2017 increased by 10.4 per cent to $17.7 trillion, following two years of negative trade growth in 2015 and 2016. The value in 2018 is estimated to have reached $19.6 trillion.

Following a slight increase in 2017, developing countries accounted for 45 per cent of world merchandise exports and 42 per cent of imports. As for trade in services, developing countries remain net importers of services.

Merchandise exports of LDCs increased by 13 per cent in 2017 after three years of decline, on the back of higher commodity prices with fuels and mining products representing a high proportion of these exports.  Nonetheless, the share of LDCs in world exports in 2017 remained less than 1 per cent.

WTO members implemented an increasing number of trade restrictive measures (totaling 137 new measures, equating to 11 new measures a month) from October 2017 to October 2018.


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