China, Taiwan and Vietnam after containing virus clocked high growth in global trade

A new study has confirmed the polarised impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the global trade recovery, with East Asian economies powering ahead of those in the West.

China, Taiwan and Vietnam are the only major trading economies whose exports have recovered strongly, with all three reporting strong growth in the third quarter of 2020, according to research by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

 china shanghai GIF

Vietnam, whose exports surged by 10.9 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier – the highest growth rate in the world, UNCTAD said – has reported only 1,141 cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday, with just 35 deaths.

China’s exports grew by 8.8 per cent in the third quarter, and while it had a crippling initial outbreak, with 85,715 cases and 4,634 deaths reported, the spread has slowed significantly and world’s most populous nation currently has only 247 active cases, thanks to severe and at the times controversial lockdown measures.

In Taiwan, exports grew by 6.4 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier. It has reported a total of 543 cases of coronavirus, with only seven deaths since the start of the pandemic and none for more than six months.

Turkey was the only other nation within the Unctad dataset to show a recovery in exports, although this was only marginal 0.7 per cent.

In contrast, many other economies are still suffering from large numbers of infections and an inability to kick-start their trade economies, with exports from Japan, the United States and the European Union shrinking by between 11.6 and 9.7 per cent year on year in the third quarter, according to the UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update.

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