HONG KONG imports a large variety of goods from all over the world - including foodstuffs and other consumer goods to meet its daily needs as well as raw materials and semi-manufactured goods for industrial and commercial use. On the other hand, Hong Kong also manufactures a lot of goods for export to other places. Do you know the amount of goods that Hong Kong imports and exports each year? External trade statistics provide the answers. External trade is trade between one country/territory and the rest of the world. It covers merchandise which enters or leaves the country/territory by land, air, water and by post. The movements of merchandise between Hong Kong and other places can be classified into three components - imports, domestic exports and re-exports. Imports include all goods produced in places outside Hong Kong and brought into Hong Kong for local use or for re-exportation to other places. In 1993, the value of Hong Kong's imports amounted to $1,073 billion. Of the total value of goods imported, 42 per cent were consumer goods, such as clothing, radios and television sets; 33 per cent were raw materials and semi-manufactured goods; 19 per cent were capital goods, such as industrial, electrical and textile machineries; four per cent were foodstuffs and the remaining two per cent were fuels. China, the largest supplier of Hong Kong's imports, accounted for some 38 per cent, in value terms, of Hong Kong's total imports in 1993. Japan and the US ranked second and third, accounting for 17 per cent and nine per cent respectively. Domestic exports are exports of locally produced goods, which may be natural produce (for example, fishery products) or products of a manufacturing process. In the case of Hong Kong, domestic exports consist mostly of manufactured goods. Last year, the total value of Hong Kong's domestic exports was $223 billion. They included clothing (which accounted for about one-third of the total domestic export value), electronic components (10 per cent), textile fabrics (seven per cent) and watches and clocks (six per cent). Over half (55 per cent), in value terms, of Hong Kong's domestic exports were exported to China and the US. Re-exports are exports of foreign-made goods previously imported into Hong Kong. They are goods which have not undergone in Hong Kong a manufacturing process that has changed permanently the shape, nature, form or utility of the product; otherwise they would have been classified as domestic exports. In 1993, the value of Hong Kong's re-exports amounted to $823 billion. In terms of value, about one-third of Hong Kong's re-exports were destined to China. Re-exports may also be analysed by the country in which goods originated before being imported into Hong Kong. In this regards, 58 per cent of goods re-exported through Hong Kong originated in China. All re-exports must have, at some earlier point in time, been recorded as imports when the goods enter the territory. By taking the difference between the import and re-export values over a period, one can derive an estimate of the value of retained imports, for example, imports retained for local use. In 1993, Hong Kong's retained imports were worth about $400 billion. For a broad comparison of the trade performance of different countries, one often refers to the total trade value which sums up the values of imports, domestic exports and re-exports. With a total merchandise trade value of $2,119 billion in 1993, Hong Kong was the eighth largest trader in the world. For more information on this series of articles, write to the General Statistics Branch (2) of the Census & Statistics Department at Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong or call 582-4004.