High-technology exports (current US$)

Definition: High-technology exports are products with high R&D intensity, such as aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific instruments, and electrical machinery. Data are in current U.S. dollars.

Description: The map below shows how High-technology exports (current US$) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is China, with a value of 757,683,000,000.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Antigua and Barbuda, with a value of 0.00.

Source: United Nations, Comtrade database through the WITS platform.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: The OECD has developed a four-way classification of exports: high, medium-high, medium-low and low-technology. The classification is based on the importance of expenditures on research and development relative to the gross output and value added of different types of industries that produce goods for export. Examples of high-technology industries are aircraft, computers, and pharmaceuticals; medium-high-technology includes motor vehicles, electrical equipment and most chemicals; medium-low-technology includes rubber, plastics, basic metals and ship construction; low-technology industries include food processing, textiles, clothing and footwear.

Limitations and Exceptions: Because industrial sectors specializing in a few high-technology products may also produce low-technology products, the product approach is more appropriate for international trade. The method takes only R&D intensity into account, but other characteristics of high technology are also important, such as knowhow, scientific personnel, and technology embodied in patents. Considering these characteristics would yield a different list (see Hatzichronoglou 1997). The indicator is based on data reported by countries to COMTRADE. The export values presented in the World Development Indicators represent Gross Exports less Re-Exports. The values may be impacted in cases of reporting errors or missing data, for example if countries do not report Re-Exports for one or more periods.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: High technology products are defined according to SITC Rev.4 as the sum of the following products: Aerospace, Computers-office machines, Electronics-telecommunications, Pharmacy, Scientific instruments, Electrical machinery, Chemistry, Non-electrical machinery, Armament. The following product codes are used: Aerospace: (714 – 71489 -71499)+7921+7922+7924+7925+79291+79293+87411; Computers-office machines: 75194+75195+752+75997; Electronics-communication: 76331+7638+(764-76493-76499)+7722+77261+77318+77625+77627+7763+7764+7768+89844+89846; Pharmacy: 5413+5415+5416+5421+5422; Scientific instruments: 774+871+87211+(874-87411-8742)+88111+88121+88411+88419+(8996-89965-89969); Electrical machinery: (7786-77861-777866-77869)+7787+77884; Chemistry: 52222+52223+52229+52269+525+531+57433+591; Non-electrical machinery: 71489+71499+7187+72847+7311+73131+73135+73142+73144+73151+73153+73161+73163+73165+73312+73314+73316+7359+73733+73735; Armament: 891 The list can also be accessed on the Eurostat website. This list, based on the OECD definition, contains technical products of which the manufacturing involved a high intensity of R&D. The original high-tech products classification is based on SITC Rev. 3 and is taken from Table 4 of Annex 2 of the 1997 working paper of Thomas Hatzichronouglou, OECD. In September 2019 the definition in the World Development Indicators database was updated to SITC Rev.4 from SITC Rev. 3. The data are in current U.S. dollars and are sourced from the UN's Comtrade database.

Aggregation method: Sum

Periodicity: Annual