Report: IT pushes global trade past $6 trillion in 2000

Global trade exceeded US$6 trillion in 2000, the first time it has ever passed that mark, thanks in part to the boom in information technology investment in the United States, according to the Japanese government-affiliated Japan External Trade Organization’s (JETRO) annual white paper on international trade, which was released Thursday.

It estimated global trade in 2000 totalled $6.27 trillion, a 12.3 per cent increase on the previous year. The report counts import and export data from more than 160 countries based on customs clearance data from 36 countries and IMF (International Monetary Fund) statistics for the remaining nations.

Total international trade in IT-related goods totalled $1.2 trillion in 2000, a 19.7 percent increase on the previous year, said Shuichiro Nishioka, a member of JETRO’s economic research and analysis department. At that level, trade in IT goods represented 18.7 per cent of all trade counted in the survey.

International trade in computers and peripherals was the largest single group within the IT sector at $346.8 billion, up 11.6 per cent. The second largest group was semiconductor and electronic parts that despite the collapse in some chip prices, managed a 26.8 per cent increase to $305.3 billion. The fastest growing area was that of telecommunication equipment which expanded 31.6 per cent to $151.8 billion.

Of total IT trade, trade in electronic parts and components made up 53.4 per cent with the remaining 46.6 per cent accounted for by finished goods.

This year’s report paid special attention to the rise in power of China in global trade. The country is expected to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) later this year – something that is expected to bring with it reductions in trade tariffs, said JETRO in a statement. In the short-term, WTO entry is expected to bring a rise in imports rather than exports and this freeing of the local market should also mean an increase in foreign investment, particularly in key industries such as electronics, said JETRO.