The World Trade Organization (WTO) has downgraded its forecast for global trade growth this year amid an economic slowdown and ongoing conflict between China and the US.
Growth of 3.7 per cent had been predicted last September, but this has now been lowered by more than a percentage point to 2.6 per cent.
In 2018, trade grew by only three per cent, far less than the 3.9 per cent initially predicted, while the WTO said it only expects a slight uptick to three per cent again for 2020.
WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo said that with trade tensions running so high, no one should be surprised by this latest outlook.
"Trade cannot play its full role in driving growth when we see such high levels of uncertainty. It is increasingly urgent that we resolve tensions and focus on charting a positive path forward for global trade which responds to the real challenges in today's economy," he added.
The WTO also highlighted weaker economic growth in North America, Europe and Asia as being partially to blame for the gloomy forecast.
Responsible for overseeing international trade rules and settling disputes between countries, the WTO is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations.