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WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.

English

Simulating World Trade in the Decades Ahead

Driving Forces and Policy Implications

The geography and composition of international trade are changing fast. We link a macroeconomic growth model and sectoral CGE framework in order to project the world economy forward to the year 2035 and assess to what extent current trends in trade are expected to continue. Constructing fully traceable scenarios based on assumptions grounded in the literature, we are also able to isolate the relative impact of key economic drivers. We find that the stakes for developing countries are particularly high: The emergence of new players in the world economy, intensification of South-South trade and diversification into skill-intensive activities may continue only in a dynamic economic and open trade environment. Current trends towards increased regionalization may be reversed, with multilateral trade relationships gaining in importance. Hypothetical mega-regionals could slow down but not frustrate the prevalence of multilateralism. Continuing technological progress is likely to have the biggest impact on future economic developments around the globe. Population dynamics are influential as well: For some countries, up-skilling will be crucial, for others labour shortages may be addressed through migration. Several developing countries would benefit from increased capital mobility; others will only diversify into dynamic sectors, when trade costs are further reduced.

English

Keywords: macroeconomic projections, International trade, CGE simulations
JEL: F47: International Economics / Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance / Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications; F02: International Economics / General / International Economic Order and Integration; E27: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy / Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment: Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications; F17: International Economics / Trade / Trade: Forecasting and Simulation
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