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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, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said Wednesday in its latest annual Trade Statistics and Outlook Report.

The WTO added that the decline would likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008-09.

According to the report, estimates of the expected recovery in 2021 are equally uncertain, with outcomes depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.

"The immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. But policymakers must start planning for the aftermath of the pandemic," said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo.

Azevedo underlined that "if countries work together, we will see a much faster recovery than if each country acts alone."


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