High-tech goods to lead trade growth over next 15 years: HSBC

Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:08pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Exports of high-tech products will grow more quickly than exports of other goods over the next 15 years as emerging Asia moves away from being a low-cost production hub for foreign brands and toward developing value-added local products, according to research from HSBC.

High-tech goods would make up more than 25 percent of goods traded by 2030 compared to 22 percent in 2013, HSBC said in its latest global trade report, which forecast trade would pick up only slowly in the near term.

The value of global goods trade would rise at an average rate of 8 percent a year from 2014 to 2030, with high-tech goods rising about 9 percent a year, HSBC said. Mineral fuels would rise 5 percent a year and raw materials about 6 percent.

World Trade Organization data show fuels and mining products were the fastest-growing export category between 2009 and 2012, followed by agricultural products. Exports of office and communications equipment rose 27 pct over the period.

HSBC said much of the future increase in high-tech trade would be driven by internationalization of supply chains, with parts for high-tech products crisscrossing national borders, but Asian firms would also snare market share from Western competitors.

HSBC forecast that by 2030, China would account for more than half the global trade in high-tech goods. Hong Kong and the United States would remain in second and third place, although with a lower market share, and Korea would displace Singapore as the fourth-biggest exporter of high-tech goods.

China, home of the world's third-biggest smartphone manufacturer, Huawei Technologies, and the biggest PC maker, Lenovo Group, is already ramping up spending on research and development, as is Malaysia.

"These two economies may have depended on foreign investment to fuel their early growth in high-tech exports, but they are now increasing their technological know-how and moving up the value chain to develop high-tech products of their own," HSBC said in the report, based on forecasts from Oxford Economics.

China, India and Indonesia are among 10 countries on a U.S. "watch" list for failing to protect U.S. companies' intellectual property rights, for example through lax rules against trade secret theft or poor patent protection.   Continued...

Shoppers browse carefully for bargains February 8 in Taipei's teeming Kwanghwa electronics market, known for its up-to-the-minute technologies and cutthroat pricing. JKP/CC/WS