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Technical notes

Table Total imports and exports: value and index numbers of volume and unit value
Technical note
Tables 34 and 35 appear in each issue of the MBS showing current trade statistics by country, region and area. Other analytical trade data are presented quarterly, semi annually and annually. These are listed in the table of contents, together with the issues in which each series appears.

Value of imports and exports: The descriptions given in the headings and footnotes to table 35 apply, unless otherwise stated, to table 34 as well. The regional totals of table 34 have been adjusted where necessary to approximate imports CIF and exports FOB in special trade, and to include countries not listed separately, and estimates where complete area data were not available. Balance of trade figures represent the difference of imports from exports.

Price, unit value and volume indices: Price index is a measure of the change in the value of exports/imports due to changes in prices of individual commodities. Unit value index reflects changes in the average prices of commodity groups. Volume index is a measure of the changes in the value of exports/imports which may be attributed to variations in the quantities of the individual commodities.

General definitions: Detailed general definitions conforming to the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council and its Statistical Commission define the series in tables 34 and 35.

Territory: The statistics reported by a country generally refer to the customs area; in most cases this coincides with the geographical area of a country.

Systems of trade. Imports: under the general trade system, both goods entering directly for domestic consumption and goods entered into customs storage are recorded, at the time of their first arrival, as imports; under the special trade system, goods are recorded as imports when declared for domestic consumption whether at time of entry or on withdrawal from customs storage.

Exports: outward moving goods consist of: (a) national goods i.e. those wholly or partly produced in the country; (b) foreign goods, neither transformed nor declared for domestic consumption in the country, which move outward from customs storage; (c) nationalized goods, i.e. foreign goods, declared for domestic consumption, which move outward without having been transformed. General exports comprise all three categories and, in the general trade system, the sum of (b) and (c) may be tabulated as re exports. Special exports comprise categories (a) and (c). Direct transit trade, consisting of goods entering or leaving for transport purposes only, is excluded from both import and export statistics.

Coverage of data: In general, all inward moving goods, in the relevant administrative categories described above, are included if their movement adds to or subtracts from the material resources of the country compiling the statistics. Because their movement generally changes monetary rather than material resources, monetary gold together with currency and titles of ownership after their issue into circulation are excluded. Among the categories included where possible in the data are: ordinary commercial transactions, governmental transactions, foreign aid (governmental and private), trade of concessionaires and silver (except issued silver coin).

Valuation: It is usual for a country to base the valuation of its imports and exports on the values specified in contracts between importers and exporters adjusted to include transportation and related costs to its own frontier. This produces a CIF transaction value for imports and an FOB transaction value for exports. Where a country values its imports at the frontier of the exporting country, it is noted in the tables that import values are FOB.

World imports and exports are the sum of imports and exports of Developed economies, Developing economies and Other. The regional totals for exports and imports have been adjusted to exclude the re-exports of countries or areas comprising each region. Estimates for certain countries or areas not shown separately as well as for those shown separately but for which no data are yet available are included in the regional and world totals. Regional totals containing estimated data are printed in bold italics.

Export and import values are derived by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) from data published in national publications, or from data on the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics Questionnaires for the following countries: American Samoa, Andorra, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Cuba, Faeroe Islands, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Kiribati, Montenegro (beginning 2006), Netherland Antilles, New Caledonia, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro (before 2006), Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan.

Export and import dollar values for all other countries are derived from data published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the International Financial Statistics publication.
Data source United Nations Statistics Division, country responses to the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics questionnaire, International Monetary Fund, national publications.
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