UNCTAD Figures Show Record World Trade In Creative Goods

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By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch

Global exports of creative goods and services reached a record US$ 624 billion in 2011, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Such creative goods include arts and crafts, books, graphic and interior design works, fashion, films, music, new media, printed and visual media, as well as audiovisuals.

This figure is up from US$ 536 billion in 2009 and US$ 559 billion in 2010.

China remains the leading exporter of creative goods and growth in other developing country exports was strong, according to a UNCTAD press release [doc]. However, there are “very few developing countries among the top 20 global players in the world market for creative goods,” the UNCTAD said.

Creative services exports, including audiovisual services and research and development services, accounted for US$ 172 billion of the total, reflecting an expanding knowledge-based economy, the release said.

The statistics pointed to continued challenges for the publishing and printed media sector as it contends with the increase in electronic publishing and distribution, but nonetheless amounted to US$ 43 billion in 2011.

In addressing the market for global music and other online content, the UNCTAD said that “rapid advances in digital technologies and information and communication technology (ICT) tools combined with shortcomings in methodology make it increasingly difficult to capture trade flows or to compile reliable figures for music as a physical creative good (such as CDs and tapes).”

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