Statistics are obscuring trade debate -WTO chief

BERLIN, Nov 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Rows between major powers over
trade balances are misleading because statistics fail to show
the degree to which production processes are international,
World Trade Organisation Director General Pascal Lamy said.

In an opinion piece for German business daily Handelsblatt
published on Wednesday, Lamy said politicians involved in
discussions about global imbalances were often victims of
“distorted statistics”.

As a result, some areas of international dispute, such as
the United States’ trade deficit with China, were actually not
as severe as they appeared to be, Lamy said.

“The classic trade balance ought to be reviewed,” Lamy
wrote. “The principle of goods’ ‘country of origin’ has become
increasingly obsolete during globalisation.”
“More and more products are ‘made in the world’ than they
are ‘made in Germany’, ‘made in France’ or ‘made in China’.”

Lamy cited the example of a finished iPod shipped to the
United States from China being listed 100 percent as a Chinese
import worth $150. This obscured the fact that much of the
production process took part in other countries, he added.

“According to American scientists, less than 10 percent of
the $150 can actually be ascribed to China…,” Lamy said.

“Accurately calculated, for example, the U.S. deficit with
China would be up to 40 percent lower than officially stated.”

Germany, Europe’s biggest exporter, has sparred lately over
trade policy with the United States, which sought to push
through a proposal at a G20 meeting last month to limit current
account imbalances to 4 percent of gross domestic product.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Statistics are obscuring trade debate -WTO chief