HomeNewsDiplomatic NewsUNCTAD publishes report on Trade Statistics and Trends

UNCTAD publishes report on Trade Statistics and Trends


Geneva, 17 March 2022 (TDI): The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a report highlighting the key statistics and trends in trade policy during the year of 2021.

The report states that tariffs have remained generally stable during the last few years with the exception of the United States and China. Both countries have levied increasing bilateral tariffs on each other. Tariff protection remains one of the most prevalent and significant factors between many countries and regions where trade takes place. Tariffs were marginally reduced in some markets during 2021 to soften the effects of COVID-19 on trade.

The report also adds that even though the World Trade Organization (WTO) remains the most important arbiter of trade disputes, the number of trade disputes and the need to investigate them have reduced significantly, this is partly due to an increase in the number of trade defense measures which have been brought about by developed countries and some emerging economies.

Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) have seen an increase over the year. Most of the recent PTAs address not only goods but also services and increasingly deal with rules beyond the typical tariff concessions. The increase in PTAs points to a deeper economic integration around the world. About half of the world’s trade comes from PTA. The pandemic has greatly disrupted trade around the world but countries and regions under PTAs have remained more resilient.

The report also indicates that as of 2020, trade costs directly related to tariffs were at around 2% for developed countries and around 4% for developing countries. Developing countries still have significantly more tariffs when compared to developed countries, particularly in South Asia and Africa. Sectors in which tariff peaks are present also saw an increase in the amount of tariff imposed. They include sectors that often developing countries rely heavily on for income like agriculture and textile.

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