Evolution of trade under the WTO: handy statistics
- As of 2018, the world's applied tariffs stood at an average of 9%. This is 19% lower than the average tariff level of 11.1% recorded in 1996, one year into the establishment of the WTO. This further compares to estimates of much higher tariff levels among contracting parties of the GATT shortly after the second world war. One estimate is that the 1947 average tariff rate among industrial countries, before the first post-war tariff reductions, ranged between 20% and 30%(1). Another estimate puts the average tariff among key GATT participants at 22%(2).
- World trade volumes today are roughly 42 times the level recorded in the early days of the GATT (4220% growth from 1950 to 2019).
- World trade values today have ballooned by over 302 times from 1950 levels.
- Volume and value graphs below show trade picking up steeply since the establishment of the WTO in 1995.
- As of 2019, world trade volumes have expanded 4.1% annually on average since 1995, when the WTO was first established.