Statistical discrepancy declines in Sino-US trade

Updated: 2013-01-28 19:13

By Li Jiabao (

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The statistical discrepancy in trade between China and the United States has been declining continuously, according to a recent report issued jointly by China's Ministry of Commerce and the US Commerce Department.

The percentage of eastbound (China exports and US imports) and westbound statistical discrepancies was generally consistent in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, and were lower than the discrepancies for the years analyzed in the previous study (2000, 2004 and 2006).

The rate of discrepancy in eastbound trade remained steady from 25.3 percent to 25.5 percent, then decreased to 22.4 percent in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010; in westbound trade, it decreased from 12.2 percent to 10.2 percent, then to 10.0 percent in the same time frame, the report said.

The greatest discrepancy in the merchandise trade statistics between the US and China continues to be in eastbound trade. The discrepancy in eastbound trade accounts for more than 88 percent of the discrepancy, according to the report.

Eastbound trade that moves directly from China to the US without entering the commerce of intermediary countries or regions accounts for more than 50 percent of the total eastbound discrepancy. That figure is slightly higher than the previous study.

Processed goods cover a high proportion in the eastbound direct trade — 56 percent, 57 percent, and 55 percent for 2008, 2009, and 2010, according to Chinese statistics. These processed goods usually have higher import values when declared to US customs officials due to markups by intermediary parties. The proportion of direct trade has continued to grow between 2008 and 2010, as has its contribution to the eastbound discrepancy, the report said.