World Trade Organization releases 2010 statistics

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In 2010 exports in the commercial services grew by 9 percent, mostly due to Asia, although trade is still below pre-crisis levels, according to statistics released in October 2011 by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy noted that trade increased starting last year and at the beginning of this year – before the debt crises – and he stressed that trade must continue as a way to keep the world's economies strong. "During these times, it is all the more important to avoid protectionist responses to domestic difficulties and to do all we can to keep trade open and flowing as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible," he wrote in the introduction to the statistics report.

Among the highlights in commercial services:

  • Asia exported US$975 billion in commercial services, and North America US$603 billion, each behind Europe for exporting commercial services.
  • After transportation exports had dropped 23 percent during the economic crisis, they increased by 15 percent in 2010, led by Asia, where many countries had double-digit growth in exports. The United States, Japan and Singapore, three of the world's top six nations in terms of transportation expoerts, each had double digit growth.
  • Although Japan's financial exports fell by 25 percent, most other countries in the APEC region increased financial exports, and many in Asia had double-digit financial services growth, including 31 percent in Singapore.

Click for trade in commercial services key developments, tables in a spreadsheet, or tables in a pdf format.

Overall, Asia ranked second in total exports, behind all of Europe, with North America third, and Central and South American fifth, behind the Middle East.

The WTO is also using the recent statistics release to promote that trade, and commercial services in particular, are as much about ideas and people as they are about raw materials, money and other products. "In early spring 2011, we launched the 'Made in the World' Initiative which aims at supporting the exchange of projects, experiences and practical approaches in measuring and analysing trade in value added," Lamy wrote. "Creating such improved statistical and analytical frameworks will be a further step towards giving decision-makers the information they need to tackle the challenges of the 21st century."

WTO officials pointed out that the data show that a majority of trade is within a region – most trade happens among close neighbours. In Asia and North America, about half of trade is within the region; meanwhile, about three-quarters of total trade is around the APEC areas.

Click for the complete International Trade Statistics 2011 (269 pages, 5.1 MB) or for the highlights (27 pages, 1.3 MB).

Click for the World Trade Organization home page.