The People’s Republic of China’s High-tech Exports: Myth and Reality
Trade statistics portray the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the largest exporter of high-tech products. In this paper the author argues that the PRC’s leading position in high-tech exports is a myth created by outdated trade statistics, which are inconsistent with trade based on global supply chains. Current trade statistics mistakenly credit entire values of assembled high-tech products to the PRC, thus greatly inflating its exports. He suggests that a value-added-based approach should be adopted to accurately measure high-tech exports. Furthermore, if assembly is the only source of the value-added generated by PRC workers, in terms of technological contribution these assembled high-tech exports are no different from labor-intensive products, so they should be excluded from the high-tech classification.
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