Growth in global trade will likely be weaker this year than in 2011, World Trade Organisation (WTO) chief Pascal Lamy forecast on Monday.
Global exchanges would "probably be a bit less" than last year, Lamy told BFM Business radio.
He also forecast that growth in 2011 "will finish at around 5.6 percent," itself weaker than forecast in November, and added: "With an economy that is taking a nose dive globally, I would be surprised if we did as well in 2012."
Lamy noted that "for now, we have not seen a protectionist wave" that would probably hamper exchanges even more.
Calls for protectionist measures have begun to multiply in countries like France where competitive positions have been undermined by globalisation.
In late November, the WTO revised its 2011 global trade forecast lower owing to a deterioration in economies around the world.
The group estimated then that exports would increase by 5.8 percent, down from its previous outlook for an expansion of 6.5 percent.