The commodity pattern of trade generally reflects the production pattern. As most countries in the region are primarily producers of foodstuffs and raw materials, they are also exporters of such commodities and importers of manufactured goods. Generally speaking, Burma, Indochina (Cambodia and Vietnam) and Thailand are rice exporting countries, while the British Borneo territories, Ceylon, Indonesia, Malaya, Pakistan and the Philippines are raw material exporting countries. Rubber, however, also accounts for a significant part of the exports of Indochina and Thailand, while tea is one of Ceylon’s major exports. Furthermore, copra and coconut oil are also partly used as foodstuffs. India’s commodity structure of exports is more diversified, its principal export goods consisting of tea, raw materials and manufactured goods, such as cotton and jute manufactures, nuts and oils and raw cotton. Hong Kong, being an entrepôt, has an export commodity structure which has virtually no relation to its production pattern. Thus, most countries of the region are not only exporters of primary goods but also have a large part of their exports concentrated in a few commodities.

Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development
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