On 2-4 February 2011, approximately 200 policy makers, economists, trade analysts and trade statisticians come together for the Global Forum on Trade Statistics at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. "Measurement of global trade" was the main theme.

The Global Forum was unique in the sense that high-level representatives from the policy, research and statistical side (from both national and international institutes) were jointly discussing the measurement of trade statistics. Remarkably, this meeting of users and producers, of the supply and demand side, came to a general agreed vision, namely to link trade to other economic and social statistics, to improve cooperation among national agencies and to improve trade-related classifications. Statements made then are reflected on this website.

Global Forum on Trade Statistics

Measuring Global Trade - Do We Have the Right Numbers?

Political leaders from WTO and UN, as well as leaders in trade analysis, research and statistics gave their views on the most prominent and urgent trade issues and their corresponding data needs at the Global Forum on Trade Statistics, 2-4 February 2011, at the WTO in Geneva. This page gives a short overview of their opinions.

For more information on the Global Forum event of February 2011, see:

  • Presentation at UNSD
  • Audio at WTO
Trade in goods and services

To disseminate statistics on trade in goods and services together, there is a need for well-coordinated institutional arrangements which are understood as a set of agreements between the involved agencies on the division of the responsibilities in the collection, processing, compilation and dissemination of data.

Trade and business statistics

For a substantial change in the compilation of trade statistics from a product based toward a business oriented perspective a new statistical frame needs to be established based on the link between trade and business statistics at the enterprise / trade operator level. The business register would be the central connecting piece.

Global value chains and outsourcing of business functions

Traditional boundaries of countries are disappearing because of the interconnectivity of the global production processes. The concept of country of origin has become questionable in terms of value-added of trade, and the distinction between goods and services is blurred. The main challenge for statisticians is to measure the global production process including all services, which include also the impact of trade on employment.

Global production and trade in value-added

Regional networks in supply chains in Asia show a change from trade in goods to trade in tasks. Mostly developing (Asian) countries import mainly intermediate goods for processing of final goods. It is shown further that the industries of some developing countries constitute an intermediate step in the production process, like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, where intermediate goods are both imported and exported at a very high rate.

Multi-nationals, FATS and FDI

Inward and Outward FATS relations can be shown as in the picture below. The variables requested for FATS are number of enterprises, turnover, number of persons employed, value added at factor cost, gross investment in tangible goods, personnel costs, production value, total purchases of goods and services, purchases of goods and services for resale, total intra-mural R&D expenditure, and total number of R&D personnel.

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