In the comments, Susan Aaronson says:
In the 1/25 Financial Times, World Trade Organization director-general Pascal Lamy argues that the way we calculate trade flows is inaccurate and is exacerbating tension over imbalances. The problem, he says, is an outdated system that assigns a given good only one country of origin:
Apple’s iPhone illustrates this clearly. It is assembled in China, then exported to the US and elsewhere. Yet the components come from numerous countries. According to a recent Asian Development Bank Institute study, the phone contributed $1.9bn to the US trade deficit with China, using the traditional country of origin concept. But if China’s iPhone exports to the US were measured in value added – meaning the value added by China to the components – those exports would come to only $73.5m.
I welcome a discussion of this...........
It's an interesting issue, but one on which I don't have any particular insights. If anyone else has something to say, feel free. I think the issue will be talked about in some detail here.