The latest estimate from the international organisation is a sharp downward revision from the 10 per cent previously expected by the WTO.
“World trade has also been a casualty of this crisis, contracting ... by about 12 per cent in 2009,” Lamy said during a visit to Brussels. He added that it was a huge drop and the sharpest decline since the end of World War Two.
Lamy said that there were some early signs that world trade was now starting to recover but that the sustainability of the upturn was unclear.
“Certainly there is a pick-up. Whether this pick-up is short term or whether this is sustainable is difficult to say but we certainly are picking up,” he added.
It had been hoped during the early stages of the crisis that world trade would remain resilient as India and China escaped the recession unscathed. In fact, demand slumped across the world.
Lamy also warned that it was necessary to conclude the Doha round of world trade talks, saying that opening global trade offered a way out of the crisis. “Trade can have a positive impact on incomes or output and job creation during this economic downturn,” he said. “If there was a geopolitical sense in launching the Doha development round in 2001, it is today economically imperative to conclude it.”