Cuba says United Nations accepts GDP formula
Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:19pm GMT
HAVANA, Dec 16 (Reuters) – A key United Nations commission has agreed
after several years of dispute with Cuba to include social investment in
calculations of the communist-run country's Gross Domestic Product, a
Cuban official said on Tuesday.
The decision by the U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America and the
Caribbean (ECLAC), considered an authoritative source on the region's
economies, was a victory for the Cuban government which has argued that
the international body's national accounts methodology was biased
against non-market economies.
"We have worked all year with ECLAC, including its top officials, to
perfect the method that can really measure our growth," Oscar Mederos
Mesa, director of the Cuban National Statistics Office, told Reuters.
The dispute centered over whether Cuba could include in its growth
calculations estimates of the market value of free social services and
subsidized goods, as well as massive medical and other services exported
mainly to Venezuela in exchange for oil.
Cuba began including the items in its GDP calculations in 2003, but
ECLAC said the Cuban formula was under study and began noting its
reservations when publishing the Caribbean island's data.
The different methodologies produced differing numbers. In 2004, for
example, Cuba said its economy grew 5 percent, while ECLAC put the
number at 3 percent.
Mederos said the commission and Cuba reached an agreement earlier this year.
An ECLAC spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment, but an
ECLAC report issued in July included Cuban data without any of the past
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United Nations adopted a
single system of national accounts, which in the introduction said it
was meant for market economies and economies in transition to
market-based ones, Cuba and North Korea being the only exceptions to the
rule at the time. (Reporting by Marc Frank; editing by Jeff Franks)