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Trade statistics reform urged

(China Daily)

09:28, October 20, 2011

CHENGDU - China is responding to proposals to reform the tabulation of trade statistics, a move that will more accurately reflect the international trade scenario, officials and experts said.

"Worked out by conventional trade calculation methods, China has a huge trade surplus. But this does not reflect the real scenario of international trade and is often misused by foreign politicians to criticize China's policies on foreign trade and its exchange rate," Yu Jianhua, assistant minister of commerce, said on Tuesday at a forum on global value chains in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

The forum, organized by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Chinese Ministry of Commerce, discussed the urgency and effects of trade statistics of reform in measuring the added value in global value chains.

With the past two decades of economic globalization, products are made in no single country but instead "Made in the World" through global value chains. Thus a transition has been made from trade in goods to trade in tasks.

"Traditional trade statistics based on customs data may not always give the picture needed for factual decision-making," Pascal Lamy, director-general of the WTO, said last year.

Under the traditional method of calculation, the value of an exported product is attributed to the country of origin, but very often that country accounts for only a small portion of the total added value created through the export.

For example, an iPhone 3G assembled in the country is exported to the US at the price of $179, which is taken as China's export value.

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