Global Forum on Trade Statistics

To disseminate statistics on trade in goods and services together, there is a need for well-coordinated institutional arrangements which are understood as a set of agreements between the involved agencies on the division of the responsibilities in the collection, processing, compilation and dissemination of data. The overarching purpose of the institutional arrangements is to ensure that national and international users have at their disposal high quality national trade statistics in a timely and convenient manner. In order to achieve this goal, details of the responsibilities of the involved agencies should be elaborated, agreed upon and documented, so that the statistical process is carried out with a maximum possible efficiency.

Trade in Goods and Services

National Cooperation on Trade Statistics

The national agency responsible for the overall compilation and dissemination of IMTS should, whenever appropriate, actively participate in the discussion of respective national legislation or relevant administrative regulations in order to establish a solid foundation for the high quality and timeliness of trade statistics. It is recognized that different institutional arrangements (depending on the structure of a country’s government and other considerations) can result in acceptable trade statistics provided that the agencies responsible for compilation follow internationally recognized methodological guidelines, utilize all available statistical sources and apply appropriate compilation procedures.

It is a good practice that the agency designated to be responsible for the dissemination of official trade statistics is given a necessary authority and responsibility to monitor and coordinate various aspects of the whole statistical process. The existence of such an agency is also essential from the user perspective as it provides a clear designation of a single source of official data and of the contact point for any inquires. This raises the user confidence in data quality and promotes a wider and more effective data use.

Implementing the improved methodological guidelines for IMTS and SITS

The new recommendations of IMTS 2010 include the addition of imports valuation on FOB basis, the recording of a second partner country (country of consignment), and the additions of mode of transport and customs procedure codes. Implementation of these new recommendations is facilitated through the development of the revised Compilers Manual for IMTS 2010, and will be disseminated through a fully upgraded UN Comtrade.

The revised Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services (SITS) contains recommendations on its three pillars, namely the resident / non-resident trade in services, FATS and modes of supply. The Manual recommends obtaining more detailed data by service category and partnering country.

Country perspective on implementation of new recommendations

Statistics Norway is responsible for IMTS, SITS, BOP, FDI, FATS, Travel, Tourism and National Accounts. This makes it easier for Statistics Norway to coordinate the links and overlaps among the various areas. Norway has implemented already most recommendations for IMTS (including unique trader ID) and SITS. Challenges are ahead for the measurement of repairs and maintenance of goods, of processing services and of merchanting.

In Hungary, the NSO is responsible for statistics of trade in goods and services. It has to cooperate with the National Bank of Hungary, the Tax Authority, the Custom Authority and the Financial Supervisory Authority (regarding insurance services). Most problems are encountered regarding the measurement of trade in services, for which many different data sources are used.

The Department of Statistics of Malaysia executes an Economic Census in 2011, and takes that opportunity to use filter questions to identify enterprises which trade in services, especially manufacturing services without ownership of the goods, and those which are partly or fully controlled by foreign owners. As a first step of the implementation plan of the new recommendations DOS will hold awareness session with all stakeholders in foreign trade statistics.

For the development of the Chinese system for international trade in services statistics, the Chinese will further integrate its statistical system, it will enhance the skills of its staff through further training, and will strengthen its international cooperation through exchange and cooperation.