High-technology exports (current US$)
Definition: High-technology exports are products with high R&D intensity, such as in aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific instruments, and electrical machinery. Data are in current U.S. dollars.
Description: The map below shows how High-technology exports (current US$) 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 558,606,000,000.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Solomon Islands, with a value of 0.00.
Source: United Nations, Comtrade database.
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. Industries of high and medium-high-technology intensity account for over two-thirds of total OECD manufacturing exports. Differences among countries are substantial; the share of high and medium-high-technology industries ranges from over 80 percent in Japan and Ireland to less than 10 percent in Iceland. Technology exports have grown rapidly in Iceland, Turkey and the eastern European countries, although most of these countries, with Hungary and the Czech Republic as exceptions, still focus primarily on low and medium-low-technology exports.
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).
Statistical Concept and Methodology: The method for determining high-technology exports was developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in collaboration with Eurostat. It takes a "product approach" (rather than a "sectoral approach") based on R&D intensity (expenditure divided by total sales) for groups of products from Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. 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. The methodology used to determine high-tech exports takes the "product approach" based on R&D intensity on products from Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. High Technology Products List - SITC Rev. 3: 1 Aerospace 7921+7922+7923+7924+7925+79291+79293+(714-71489-71499)+87411 2 Computers-office machines 75113+75131+75132+75134+(752-7529)+75997 3 Electronics-telecommunications 76381+76383+(764-76493-76499) +7722+77261+77318+77625+77627+7763+7764+7768+89879 4 Pharmacy 5413+5415+5416+5421+5422 5 Scientific instruments 774+8711+8713+8714+8719+87211+(874-87411-8742) +88111+88121+88411+88419+89961+89963+89966+89967 6 Electrical machinery 77862+77863+77864+77865+7787+77884 7 Chemistry 52222+52223+52229+52269+525+531+57433+591 8 Non-electrical machinery 71489+71499+71871+71877+71878+72847+7311+73131+73135 +73142+73144+73151+73153+73161+73163+73165 +73312+73314+73316+7359+73733+73735 9 Armament 891 Data are in current U.S. dollars and coming from the UN's Comtrade database.
Aggregation method: Sum