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Statistics on global trade significantly distorted: UN body


08:31, February 28, 2013

GENEVA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Statistics on trade are significantly distorted as global investment and trade are thoroughly entwined in international production networks, or "global value chains," according to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The report reviewed the ever-more complicated webs of investment and trade, by which raw materials extracted in one country may be exported to a second country for processing, then exported again to a manufacturing plant in a third country, which may then export to a fourth country for final consumption.

It said that global value chains administered by transnational corporations account for 80 percent of global trade.

The international zigzagging of goods and services as they are upgraded means that some 28 percent of the value of this trade, or about 5 trillion U.S. dollars, out of the 9 trillion U.S. dollars of recorded global gross exports in 2010 is overstated through double counting, said the report.

The share of developing countries in global value-added trade increased from 20 percent in 1990 to 30 percent in 2000, and is more than 40 percent today, according to the report.

"Global value chains are everywhere. They show that investment and trade are two sides of the same coin. Policymakers have to take into account both sides when thinking about economic growth and development," said UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi.

The publication marked the launch of a new UNCTAD database that covers 187 countries, including nearly all developing economies.

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