WTO, OECD to develop statistics on trade in value added

The World Trade Organsation (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have signed a letter of understanding to develop statistics on trade in value added.

Among other things, the two organizations will produce a publicly-available database of trade flows estimated in value-added terms, a WTO statement said March 15, 2012.

OECD and WTO are convinced that the field is now mature enough to move from academic research to official statistics and international policy making, it said.

The statement listed what are expected from the signed letter of cooperation.

The fundamental objectives of the OECD-WTO cooperation are the following:

·    To define a methodology for measuring trade in value-added based on best practices learned from all past and present experiences.

·    To produce a publicly available database of trade flows estimated in value-added terms using the inter-country input-output tables of the OECD, including the most relevant non-OECD members, and determine a methodology for the updating of this data set.

·    To build-up and sustain a network of relevant multilateral and national institutions active in relevant fields, and establish links with academic and research institutes involved in the field.

·    To investigate in co-operation with other relevant national and international agencies the remaining statistical issues, in particular in relation to trade in services as well as other relevant balance of payment concepts.

·    To promote a dialogue between experts and policy makers on the implications of “trade in tasks” and the potential of measuring trade in value added for international and national policies.

The WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said “improved measurement and knowledge of actual trade flows will help better understand the interdependencies of today’s national economies, supporting the design of better policies and better trade regulation worldwide.”

Since 2008, the OECD and the WTO have been cooperating with other stakeholders to provide the international community with supplementary data that would shed light on what is called “trade in tasks”, i.e., the domestic value added content of trade.

By Ekow Quandzie

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