The WTO released a report Thursday detailing international trade developments through 2005. WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy says that lower economic activity led to a deceleration of world trade in 2005.
"At a time of uncertainty, a strong, rules-based multilateral trading system is the best insurance policy for the world economy," Lamy says. He uses this point as evidence that the ongoing stalemate in Doha Round talks is hurting international trade.
The report shows growth in agricultural trade at 5.3%, the highest annual increase in this sector since 1997, partly crediting the recovery of North American agricultural exports in 2005.
Despite the growth of agricultural trade, North American and global agricultural production was stagnant and export prices for agricultural products slowed.
According to the report, major oil exporters, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Russia, had their total value of merchandise exports gain by at least one third amid higher oil prices.