China reports an import decline of 43.1 % in January 2009; exports had shrunk by 17.5 %. Most Asiatic countries are faced with a similar bleak state of affairs. The situation in the EU is still slightly better: in December imports were down by 7.8 %, exports fell by 0.9 %.
The chief economist of the Directorate General for Trade of the EU Commission, Gaspar Frontini, drew a gloomy picture of the global trade in front of representatives of the civil society in the European Union. Until October, import and export figures had steadily increased; November saw an abrupt decline - imports and exports fell significantly: the EU saw an 11 % decline of exports in November and of 0.9 % in December; the USA were confronted with 3.7 and 8.4 % respectively. Particularly badly affected in these two months was Japan: her exports declined by 26.7 % in November and 35 % in December.

The Commission sees the reason for this development in the fact that demand had declined, but also and in particular because of problems in financing production.

In addition, the developing countries were also particularly hard hit by the financial crisis. On the one hand, a vast amount of capital has been withdrawn from these countries, resulting in a negative impact on the streams of commerce; on the other hand, energy and raw material prices have fallen - bad for those developing countries, which are dependent on these sources of income.

Finally, the Commission determined that it was now important to prevent individual states from implementing protectionist measures. This would result in a chain reaction. So far, two agreements had been taken at G20 level, both of which would go in the right direction: firstly, no new barriers should be created within the next 12 months and secondly, the WTO negotiations should be concluded to support the trade.