High-tech goods would make up more than 25 percent of goods traded
by 2030 compared to 22 percent in 2013, HSBC said in its latest
global trade report, which forecast trade would pick up only slowly
in the near term.
The value of global goods trade would rise at an average rate of 8
percent a year from 2014 to 2030, with high-tech goods rising about
9 percent a year, HSBC said. Mineral fuels would rise 5 percent a
year and raw materials about 6 percent.
World Trade Organization data show fuels and mining products were
the fastest-growing export category between 2009 and 2012, followed
by agricultural products. Exports of office and communications
equipment rose 27 pct over the period.
HSBC said much of the future increase in high-tech trade would be
driven by internationalization of supply chains, with parts for
high-tech products crisscrossing national borders, but Asian firms
would also snare market share from Western competitors.
HSBC forecast that by 2030, China would account for more than half
the global trade in high-tech goods. Hong Kong and the United States
would remain in second and third place, although with a lower market
share, and Korea would displace Singapore as the fourth-biggest
exporter of high-tech goods.
China, home of the world's third-biggest smartphone manufacturer,
Huawei Technologies, and the biggest PC maker, Lenovo Group, is
already ramping up spending on research and development, as is
"These two economies may have depended on foreign investment to fuel
their early growth in high-tech exports, but they are now increasing
their technological know-how and moving up the value chain to
develop high-tech products of their own," HSBC said in the report,
based on forecasts from Oxford Economics.
China, India and Indonesia are among 10 countries on a U.S. "watch"
list for failing to protect U.S. companies' intellectual property
rights, for example through lax rules against trade secret theft or
poor patent protection.
The United States and European Union are also pushing China to
resume talks on expanding a list of high-tech products covered by a
16-year-old pact that eliminated duties on products including
personal computers, laptops and telephones.
The HSBC report showed China accounted for 36.5 percent of high-tech
goods exports in 2013, followed by Hong Kong at 13 percent. The
United States was in third place at 9.6 percent. In 2000, the United
States was the world's biggest tech exporter with a market share of
HSBC said Asian countries also logged a high share of high-tech
imports, as did the United States.
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"This internationalization of supply chains explains why the United
States — the designer of devices such as the iPhone and a country
with an evident comparative advantage in the high-tech sector — operates a trade deficit in these goods," HSBC said.
"The outsourcing of production of high-tech goods by U.S.
companies to serve the large domestic consumer market for these
goods means that U.S. companies import a large quantity of assembled
products that they have designed themselves."
The data highlight why the United States and other trading partners
such as Japan, Canada and Korea are keen to restart talks on the
WTO's Information Technology Agreement, or ITA, which reached an
impasse in November.
China has said cutting all tariffs to zero would be unfair and wants
some products excluded and others to have a long phase-in period,
saying the pact has to take into account differing levels of
Michael Punke, U.S. ambassador to the WTO, on Monday urged China, as
this year's chair of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation trade
group, to take up calls to conclude an expanded ITA by the next
regional trade ministers' meeting in May.
"We think this is a doable goal and we encourage China, as host
country, to exercise leadership in helping to achieve this," he said
in a statement.
The U.S. administration estimates expanding the ITA to drop duties
on additional technology products could liberalize roughly $1
trillion in global IT and communications trade and increase annual
global economic output by $190 billion.
The WTO has forecast global goods trade growth of 4.5 percent in
2014, below the average rate of 5.4 percent recorded from 1982 to
(Reporting by Krista Hughes; editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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