WASHINGTON, March 17 Exports of high-tech
products will grow more quickly than exports of other goods
over the next 15 years as emerging Asia moves away from being a
low-cost production hub for foreign brands and toward developing
value-added local products, according to research from HSBC.
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
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 Malaysia.
"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 29.2 percent.
HSBC said Asian countries also logged a high share of
high-tech imports, as did the United States.
"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 development.
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
"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 2012.