Hong Kong's Offshore Trade Statistics for 2008

     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released today (February 9) the statistics on Hong Kong's exports of services relating to offshore trade for 2008, with breakdowns by type of service and destination.

     In Hong Kong's exports of services, those relating to offshore trade are categorised under "merchanting and other trade-related services", which is a major service group of exports of services.  According to the trade in services statistics for 2008, on which a separate press release was issued today, exports of services relating to offshore trade constituted 94.5% of the value of exports of "merchanting and other trade-related services", or 28.4% of the value of total exports of services of Hong Kong, in 2008.

     In 2008, Hong Kong earned $204.1 billion from offshore trade, up by 9.7% over 2007.  Within this total, the gross margin from "merchanting" was $176.5 billion (up by 9.4% over 2007), and the commission from "merchandising for offshore transactions" was $27.6 billion (up by 11.9%).

     Offshore trade covers the services of "merchanting" and "merchandising for offshore transactions" provided by establishments operating in Hong Kong (excluding their affiliates located outside Hong Kong).  Earnings from offshore trade include gross margin from "merchanting" and commission from "merchandising for offshore transactions".

     "Merchanting" is defined as services associated with the trading of goods which are purchased from and then sold to parties outside Hong Kong without the goods ever entering and leaving Hong Kong.  An establishment engaged in "merchanting" in Hong Kong takes ownership of the goods involved.  Also included are transactions of goods manufactured outside Hong Kong through sub-contract processing arrangement and directly sold to parties outside Hong Kong without the goods ever entering and leaving Hong Kong.

     "Merchandising for offshore transactions" is defined as services of arranging on behalf of buyers/sellers outside Hong Kong the purchases/sales of goods according to their specifications (including services such as multiple sourcing, marketing, contract and price negotiation, sample and volume procurement, shipment, inspection and arrangement of follow-up order).  The goods involved are sold by a party outside Hong Kong to another party outside Hong Kong under the arrangement of an establishment operating in Hong Kong without the goods ever entering and leaving Hong Kong.  Unlike "merchanting", an establishment engaged in such merchandising transactions in Hong Kong, in its capacity as an agent or broker, does not take ownership of the goods involved and hence recording of the value of goods involved is not required in its accounting system.

     In 2008, the sales value of goods involved in "merchanting" grew by 33.7% over 2007 to $2,770.3 billion.  Meanwhile, the sales value of goods involved in "merchandising for offshore transactions" was estimated at $592.5 billion in 2008, up by 1.1% over 2007.

     There is a difference in the level of involvement of the service providers in "merchanting" and "merchandising for offshore transactions" activities.  This could be reflected by the difference between the rate of gross margin from "merchanting" (6.4%) and the commission rate from "merchandising for offshore transactions" (4.7%) estimated in 2008.

     Whilst not providing exactly the same type of services, "merchanting" and "merchandising for offshore transactions", if taken together, involved a total of $3,362.8 billion in terms of the sales value of goods in 2008, up by 26.5% over 2007.

     In comparison, the value of re-exports was $2,733.4 billion in 2008, up by 6.0% over 2007.  The rate of re-export margin was estimated at 17.5%.

     Analysed by destination of exports of services relating to offshore trade, the United States and the mainland of China (the Mainland) were the two major destinations in terms of offshore trade earnings, accounting for 26.3% and 24.7% respectively of the gross margin/commission earned in 2008.  They were followed by the United Kingdom (6.3%), Germany (6.1%) and Japan (5.0%).

     Analysed by destination of goods sold under "merchanting", the Mainland was the major destination, accounting for 40.6% of the total value of goods sold under such arrangement in 2008.  It was followed by the United States (16.4%), Japan (7.3%), Singapore (5.6%) and the United Kingdom (4.3%).

     A Government spokesman notes that the offshore trade continued to grow notably in 2008, despite the sharp deceleration in global trade flows observed towards the end of that year.  The fact that the total sales value of goods involved in offshore trade in 2008 was again having a faster growth than the value of goods involved in re-exports reflected the increasingly important role played by offshore trade in Hong Kong's external trade.

Further information

     Table 1 presents analysis of activities of exports of services relating to offshore trade against re-exports of goods in 2007 and 2008.

     Table 2 presents analysis of exports of services relating to offshore trade by main destination of exports of services in 2007 and 2008.

     Table 3 presents analysis of merchanting activities by main destination of sales of goods involved in merchanting in 2007 and 2008.

     More detailed statistics relating to offshore trade presented in the context of trade in services statistics will be given in the "Report on Hong Kong Trade in Services Statistics for 2008".  Users can download the publication free of charge at the website of the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/external_trade/index.jsp) as from 26 February 2010.

     Enquiries about trade in services and offshore trade statistics can be directed to the Trade in Services Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel. : 2802 1372 or E-mail : tis@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:33


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