It is the first time since World War II that trade with other nations has declined during a period of economic growth.

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The constant flow of goods from Asia to the United States was briefly interrupted last month after Hanjin, the South Korean shipping line, filed for bankruptcy, stranding several dozen of its cargo ships on the high seas.

It was a moment that made literal the stagnation of globalization.

The growth of trade among nations is among the most consequential and controversial economic developments of recent decades. Yet despite the noisy debates, which have reached new heights during this presidential campaign, it is a little-noticed fact that trade is no longer rising.

The volume of global trade was flat in the first quarter of 2016, then fell 0.8 percent in the second quarter, according to statisticians in the Netherlands, which happens to keep the best data.

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The United States is no exception to the broader trend. The total value of U.S. imports and exports fell more than $200 billion last year. Through the first nine months of 2016, trade fell an additional $470 billion.

It is the first time since World War II that trade with other nations has declined during a period of economic growth.

Sluggish global economic growth is both a cause and a result of the slowdown. In better times, prosperity increased trade and trade increased prosperity. Now the wheel is turning in the opposite direction. Reduced consumption and investment are dragging on trade, which is slowing growth.

But there are also signs that the slowdown is becoming structural. Developed nations appear to be backing away from globalization.

The World Trade Organization’s most recent round of global trade talks ended in failure last year.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, an attempt to forge a regional agreement among Pacific Rim nations, also is foundering. It is opposed by both major-party U.S. presidential candidates.

Meanwhile, new barriers are rising. Britain is leaving the European Union. The WTO said in July its members had put in place more than 2,100 new restrictions on trade since 2008.

Against the tide, the European Union and Canada signed a far-reaching trade agreement Sunday that commits them to opening their markets to greater competition, after overcoming a last-minute political obstacle that reflected the growing skepticism toward globalization in much of the developed world.

The benefits of globalization have accrued disproportionately to the wealthy, while the costs have fallen on displaced workers, and governments have failed to ease their pain.

During the 1990s, global trade grew more than twice as fast as the economy. Europe united. China became a factory town. Tariffs came down. Transportation costs plummeted. It was the Wal-Mart Era.

But those changes have played out. Europe is fraying around the edges; low tariffs and transportation costs cannot get much lower. And China is making more of what it consumes, and consuming more of what it makes.

In addition, China’s maturing industrial sector increasingly makes its own parts. The International Monetary Fund reported last year that the share of imported components in products “Made in China” has fallen to 35 percent from 60 percent in the 1990s.

The result: The IMF study calculated that a 1 percent increase in global growth increased trade volumes by 2.5 percent in the 1990s, while in recent years, the same growth has increased trade by just 0.7 percent.

Hanjin, like other big shippers, bet global trade would continue to grow rapidly. In 2009, the world’s cargo lines had enough room to carry 12.1 million of the standardized shipping containers that have played a crucial, if quiet, role in the rise of global trade. By last year, they had room for 19.9 million, much of it unneeded.

Most trade flows among developed nations. The McKinsey Global Institute calculates that 15 countries account for roughly 63 percent of the global traffic in goods and services, and for an even larger share of financial investment.

Dani Rodrik, a Harvard economist, calculates that manufacturing employment in India and other developing nations has peaked, a phenomenon he calls premature deindustrialization.

Infrastructure investment by multinational corporations declined for the third straight year in 2015, according to the United Nations.