Magazine article International Trade Forum

Creative Industries: A Dynamic Sector in World Trade

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Creative Industries: A Dynamic Sector in World Trade

Article excerpt


The United Nations' Creative Economy Report 2008 demonstrates that creative industries are powerful engines for economic growth and trade development in developing countries. This is true not only in terms of direct economic impact from the sale of goods and services but, importantly, also as a multiplier in other sectors by stimulating new business opportunities and enhanced capacity.

The report's major findings point towards a need for informed policy that recognizes the scope and diversity of the creative economy. Such policy would support the development of comprehensive and reliable data on the various dimensions of the creative economy, balanced with the enforcement of intellectual property rights to ensure that the interests of artists and creators from developing countries are protected.

Market Overview

The global market for traded goods and services of the creative industries has enjoyed an unprecedented dynamism in recent years. Their global export value reached US$ 424.4 billion in 2005, accounting for 3,4 per cent of world trade as compared with US$ 227.4 million in 1996 according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Over the period from 2000 to 2005, the creative industries' share of global markets grew at an annual rate of 8.7 per cent, a trend that is likely to continue, given the positive prospects for global demand. Exports of creative services increased by 8.8 per cent annually rising from US$ 38.2 billion in 1996 to US$89 billion in 2005.

While developed countries have dominated both export and import flows, developing countries year after year have increased their share in world markets for creative products, and their exports have risen faster than those from developed countries. Exports of creative goods from developing economies accounted for 29 per cent of world exports of such goods in 1996 and reached 41 per cent in 2005, with China alone accounting for 19 per cent.

The dynamism of developing countries' exports of creative products is new. The increase in China's exports over the ten years was remarkable - from US$ 18.4 billion in 1996 to US$ 61.3 billion in 2005, During this period, exports of creative goods from developing countries increased 143 per cent, nearly tripling from US$ 55.7 billion to US$ 136.2 billion, Asian economies accounted for more than three-quarters of total exports of creative goods, while in Latin America and the Caribbean, exports doubled from approximately US$ 3.5 billion to US$ 8,6 billion. The level of exports from this region, however, remained comparatively low given the potential of its creative industries. Africa contributed marginally (less than 1 per cent) to world exports even though exports increased from US$ 973 million to US$ 1.8 billion during the period.

Major factors of the creative economy worldwide

The major drivers responsible for the extraordinary growth in the creative industries worldwide can be found in technology, growing consumer markets and better linkages to the tourism sector.

Technology. The convergence of multimedia and telecommunication technologies has led to an integration of the means by which creative content is produced, distributed and consumed and has, in turn, fostered new forms of artistic and creative expression. At the same time, the deregulation of previously state-owned enterprises has paved the way for growth in private sector investment. Digital technology has brought about enormous growth in the range of media through which creative content is conveyed to consumers, such as video-on-demand, music podcasting, streaming, computers and the provision of television services via cable, satellite and the Internet.

Growth in demand. New communications technologies (digital, mobile and Internet) have seen a new generation of consumers who are not only expanding their range of cultural experiences, but also adding to it, creating the emergence of consumers as creators. …

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