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Growth in global imports of ICT falls to 5-year low



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GLOBAL imports of information and communications technology (ICT) goods grew by only one per cent in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available. It is the lowest rate of growth compared to the preceding five years.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) disclosed this in a recent study, released over the weekend. According to UNCTAD, developing countries, and those countries changing from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, accounted for more than half (57) per cent of total global imports, which reached a value of $2.1 trillion.

The report noted that global imports of communications equipment and electronic components were the only two sub-sectors, which grew slightly in 2014 up to three per cent and two per cent respectively as compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, global imports of consumer electronics continued a four-year decline, falling by four per cent in 2014, while computers and peripheral equipment imports were flat. As a result, imports of communication equipment matched those of computers and peripheral equipment, each with an estimated global value of $520 billion.

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In 2014, the report said Chinese exports and imports of ICT goods came to a halt after many years of growth. Among the Top 10 importers of ICT goods, China and Singapore were the only economies with declining rates in 2014, down by four and three per cent respectively.

It stressed that by contrast, imports grew strongly into the Republic of Korea up to 11 per cent, Hong Kong, China up to nine and Germany up to eight per cent.
On the export side, UNCTAD said there was zero growth for ICT goods from China, but Taiwan Province of China and Hong Kong, China maintained positive and significant growth rates.

Besides, economies with the largest declines of ICT goods imports in 2014 included; Ukraine, which went down by 34 per cent, Argentina 23 per cent, Paraguay 18 per cent, Belarus 18 per cent, Chile 17 per cent, Kazakhstan 15 and Hungary 13 per cent.
However, the largest increases in ICT goods exports were noted for the Russian up to 80 per cent, the Philippines by 40 per cent, Latvia 30 per cent, South Africa 25 per cent, Poland up to 21 per cent, Finland 13 per cent and Australia by 12 per cent.

In total, ICT goods accounted for 12 per cent of world merchandise imports in 2014. This proportion ranged between 44 per cent for Hong Kong, China, around 20 to 24 per cent in China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore and less than one per cent in Afghanistan and Mauritania.

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