Technology will add a third to annual trade by 2030, WTO claims



Matthew Field | The Telegraph

Technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing and self-driving cars will help global trade grow by a third by 2030, the World Trade Organisation claims. The global trade body’s annual report said trade will increase up to 2pc per year, driven by the adoption of digital technologies. WTO director general Roberto Azevêdo said innovations like blockchain – the technology behind cryptocurrencies – could spur growth in developing economies. “We can’t simply leave the evolution of our technological future to chance, or trust it to market forces,”  he said at a conference at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. “This is structural, this is here to stay … It is a revolution.” “Notwithstanding the current trade tensions, we predict that trade could grow yearly by 1.8 to 2.0 percentage points more until 2030 as a result of the falling trade costs, amounting to accumulated growth of 31 to 34 percentage points over 15 years,” he wrote in his foreword to the WTO’s World Trade Report 2018. That compares with a fall in global trade costs of 15pc between 1996 and 2014.

However, the report added anti-competitive practices and the rise of big tech monopolies could hit global growth if left unchecked.

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