The existing international trade statistics is an indispensable tool of economic analysis, though its relevance may be questioned. In the world of global value chains, it is essential to understand that a good or service produced in one country and purchased in another one tend to embody value added of diverse national and sectoral origin. The article reviews the analytic capabilities offered by an alternative estimation of international trade in value added terms. Experimental data from OECD, WTO and World Input-Output Database project are used to quantify Russia’s role as an exporter of value added within the global value chains.
The article explores the issue of capturing the value added in international trade flows using international input-output frameworks. We review the methodology employed by foreign researchers to develop an approach for a decomposition of gross trade flows into value added components of certain origin and destination and to comprehensively analyse global value chains. Two sets of inter-country input-output tables provide statistical input to derive new and easy-to-handle indicators that show Russia’s role in the global value chains as at 2005. Russia appears to be an active part of the European value chains thanks to its exports of raw energy resources. Demand for the latter is created by the direct importers, but is also indirectly fuelled by consumption of third countries, i.e. further downstream. We provide evidence that the value added originating in Russia’s oil and gas sector is hidden in other countries’ and other sectors’ exports. However, these multiplicative effects are significant for Russia’s total trade rather than its partners’ trade, with the exception of some Eastern European economies, primarily Baltic countries. This is perhaps a sub-optimal model of integration into the global value chains, but secures Russia’s position as a relatively large net exporter of value added alongside top contributors among developed and developing countries. We supplement our results with a brief description of the analytical capabilities of the international input-output frameworks, existing experience and prospects of their use for policy making.