In a welcome surprise for German exporters, global trade has far outpaced expectations this year, partly because US President Donald Trump has yet to impose the import tariffs he has been threatening.
The World Trade Organization expects trade to expand by up to 3.9 percent this year, up from the 2.4 percent it had predicted at the start of the year. The International Monetary Fund is even more optimistic, forecasting trade growth of 4.2 percent in 2017 and 4 percent next year.
“One of the reasons is likely to be that the worst fears, for example new import tariffs by the US, have so far failed to materialize,” said Holger Bingmann, president of the BGA foreign trade association.
Despite Mr. Trump’s vocal promises to protect US manufacturers with new tariffs, US imports and exports are up this year from 2016. In fact, the trend towards more protectionism in the Group of 20 leading industrial and emerging countries has been halted, with the WTO registering the lowest increase in new trade barriers since 2008.