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UNECE provides practical guidance on measuring global production

The world is increasingly global. Think about music, movies, fashion, technology…the list goes on. The products we buy are often manufactured in distant places, and while we may not realize it, they often consist of parts developed, produced and assembled in different parts of the world.

Governments’ measures and policies inevitably lag behind the new and innovative forms taken by global enterprises and their production chains. Statisticians do their best to keep everyone informed of the global economy. But it is a struggle. Compiling key economic indicators for decision making, like GDP, is not easy or in any way straightforward. That’s why UNECE now released a Guide to Measuring Global Production as a result of several years of dedicated work among leading experts from national statistical offices and international organizations.

Globalization has created new opportunities driving businesses to seek more efficient ways to manufacture their products. Firms may outsource parts of their production to countries where labor costs are lower, raw materials more readily available or large markets closer. Some may go fully factoryless and only provide intellectual property –software, blue prints and design – and contract producers on the other side of the world. Production is more and more about logistics.

This makes the recording of globalized production in national statistics very challenging and has encouraged statisticians to work together across borders. To avoid data mismatch, it is crucial to agree how to deal with the various forms of global production in a coherent way worldwide. The Guide is the source of the latest knowledge, experience and practical solutions agreed among leading statisticians for dealing with global production that is increasingly complex.

While countries are putting the guidance into practice, new challenges of globalization keep springing up. On 17-20 May 2016, UNECE will organize, jointly with Eurostat and OECD, an expert meeting to address unresolved issues, share new experience in measuring global production and discuss the way forward in data sharing among statistical offices.

For printed copies of the Guide, please contact: national.accounts@unece.org

For more information on UNECE work in national accounts and globalization, please refer to: http://www.unece.org/stats/na.html