Economists from the world's leading credit insurer Euler Hermes expect states to have adopted some 400 new protectionist measures, such as tariffs or trade restrictions, by the end of the year.
However, this represents a decline compared to 2017, when 560 new measures were counted.
Punitive tariffs between the world's largest economies, the United States and China, as well as other trade conflicts, such as those between the U.S. and the European Union, are expected to be a dominant theme at the G20 summit, starting on Friday in Buenos Aires.
Despite the flood of trade barriers, Euler Hermes, a subsidiary of Europe's largest insurer Allianz, does not expect a worldwide trade war.
"With the new [Democratic Party] majority in the House of Representatives, the U.S. should take a more constructive stance on trade," said chief economist Ludovic Subran.
According to calculations by Euler Hermes, U.S. tariffs of up to 6 per cent would knock about half a percentage point off global economic growth.
By contrast, a trade war involving duties above an average of 12 per cent would account for a fall in the global economy of two percentage points.
The company foresees an end to the current business cycle, which would also affect global trade. Annual growth is expected to slow from 3.8 to 3.6 per cent.
Nevertheless, German exporters will continue to be on the winning side in the coming year: they could increase their exports by up to 64 billion dollars, the fourth largest increase behind China, the U.S. and India, Euler Hermes said.
"German companies are benefiting from continued stable global trade," said Ron van Het Hof, head of Euler Hermes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.