What is Africa exporting to China? A reader asked me: why are 26% of African exports to China reported as "unspecified"? This HS 98 "Special Classification Provisions, Not elsewhere specified" category has grown hugely over the past few years. I've pasted the top four imports in the trade data below (all in millions). In 2007, this category was about 1% of total imports. By 2013, it's up to 25%. What is in this category? Readers' insights welcome. (updated to include the Chinese definition for HS 98 -- each country can define their own contents for HS 98)
|CHINESE IMPORTS FROM AFRICA
|Mineral Fuel, Oil Etc.;||25,997||39,489||27,828||41,475||49,073||56,084||54,013|
|Special Classification Provisions, Nesoi||578||1,551||902||3,401||15,926||28,941||30,275|
|Ores, Slag And Ash||3,298||7,254||6,049||8,864||12,620||11,320||13,810
UPDATE April 18, 2014: China's definition of HS 98 from China Customs, below (thank you Bi Hanning). Still not clear why it has grown so large, but I suspect many importers are simply classifying imports as "other unclassified commodities"...