“WTO rules and principles have assisted governments in keeping markets open and they now provide a platform from which trade can grow as the global economy improves. We see the light at the end of the tunnel and trade promises to be an important part of the recovery. But we must avoid derailing any economic revival through protectionism,” said Director-General Pascal Lamy. Exports from developed economies are expected to increase by 7.5% in volume terms over the course of the year while shipments from the rest of the world (including developing economies and the Commonwealth of Independent States) should rise by around 11% as the world emerges from recession.The WTO notes this strong expansion will help recover some, but by no means all, of the ground lost in 2009 when the global economic crisis sparked a 12.2% contraction in the volume of global trade — the largest such decline since World War II.

 Good news. At the same time, last week Doha members quietly set aside a 2010 deadline – some say reflecting the reality of the current global economy, others worried that it is risking suspension of negotiations. With France due to take over the G8 and G20 chairs next year, and Obama’s continued focus on and push for financial reform, do examples like the recent Sarkosy visit to the bode well for potential, further economic recovery, and opportunity for international trade?  Other factors to watch will be unemployment figures, and individual nations’ approach toward protectionism.

What does your company pay the closest attention to – what will likely have the biggest impact on your international business?