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Growth in Global Imports of Information and Communications Technology Slows

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The UN Conference on Trade and Development reports that global imports of information and communications technology goods grew by only one percent in 2014, the lowest rate in the past five years.

Overall statistics. Total global imports of ICT products reached $2.1 trillion, accounting for 12 percent of world merchandise imports. More than half of this total (57 percent) was accounted for by developing countries and countries changing from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. With respect to specific subsectors, imports of communications equipment and electronic components were up three percent and two percent, respectively; imports of consumer electronics continued a four-year decline and fell four percent, and imports of computers and peripheral equipment were flat.

Countries. Chinese imports of ICT goods fell four percent, halting years of growth. Economies with the largest import declines included Ukraine (34 percent), Argentina (23 percent), Paraguay (18 percent), Belarus (18 percent), Chile (17 percent), Kazakhstan (15 percent) and Hungary (13 percent). By contrast, imports grew strongly into South Korea (11 percent), Hong Kong (nine percent) and Germany (eight percent).

The largest increases in ICT goods exports were noted for Russia (80 percent), the Philippines (40 percent), Latvia (30 percent), South Africa (25 percent), Poland (21 percent), Finland (13 percent) and Australia (12 percent). Exports were also up for Taiwan (11 percent), Germany (eight percent), Hong Kong (seven percent) and Korea (six percent) but flat for China and Singapore.

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