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Former WTO Chief Economist Calls for New Global Trade Measurements
November 6, 2013 – International trade needs a new measuring stick that better reflects global interdependencies and technological content, said Dr Patrick Low, Vice President of Research at the Fung Global Institute. Dr Low will speak at the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference (ALMC) in Hong Kong tomorrow (November 7). “Until very recently we haven’t been thinking about trade in the way we should be thinking about it,” said Dr Low, in a video interview with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) earlier this week. The HKTDC and the Hong Kong SAR Government are organizing the ALMC.
Please see the interview here:
“We’ve been measuring it in terms of gross flows. We should be thinking of it in terms of net flows. We should be thinking of it in terms of who adds the value, not what the value of the total product is,” said Dr Low, who served as Chief Economist of the World Trade Organization from 1997 to 2013.
Dr Low used the iPhone as an example. Made on the Chinese mainland, it enters United States trade statistics as a high-tech product export from China. Until very recently, said Dr Low, China only assembled the components of the iPhone.
“So instead of being responsible for 100 per cent of the value, which is what the gross trade number will tell you, China is responsible for less than five per cent of the value,” said Dr Low, calling the situation a dramatic illustration of why trade should be measured differently.
Revising trade measurements will, he said, “give us a much better feel for the degree of interdependency amongst countries.” He added that it would “give us a much better feel for the technology content of trade” and “a much more accurate picture of bilateral trade balances.”
Dr Low will deliver the keynote address at ALMC, which will feature Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive CY Leung, who will open the conference. Speakers include: Robert Li, Executive Director, Supply Chain for Asia Pacific, Lenovo Group; Scott Price, President and CEO, Walmart Asia; Shi Tao, Vice President and General Manager, Global Business, JD.com Group; Ronald Widdows, Chairman of the World Shipping Council; George Yeo, Chairman of the Kerry Logistics Network; and Justin Zatouroff, Global Head of Logistics at KPMG.
About the Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference
The ALMC brings together logistics services providers and users, including manufacturers, traders and distributors, to exchange market intelligence and explore new business opportunities in the region. The third edition of the conference will be held, November 7, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, with an expected attendance of more than 1,400 participants from 32 countries and regions. This year, discussions will focus on regional trade flows, in particular that between the ASEAN and China, and the rise of e-commerce and its impact on logistics and supply-chain management.
Website: Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference http://www.asianlogisticsconference.com/en/index.html
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About the HKTDC
A statutory body established in 1966, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is the international marketing arm for Hong Kong-based traders, manufacturers and service providers. With more than 40 global offices, including 12 on the Chinese mainland, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a platform for doing business with China and throughout Asia. The HKTDC also organizes trade fairs and business missions to connect companies with opportunities in Hong Kong and on the mainland, while providing information via trade publications, research reports and online. For more information, please visit: http://www.hktdc.com.
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