Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics
Strengthening Data Compilation and Analytical Capacity
Organized by the Customs Services of Maldives
and the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD)

  • Malé, Maldives
  • 3-6 April 2017

In order to better measure international trade, new recommendations for international merchandise trade statistics were adopted by all UN member states through the UN Statistical Commission in 2010. Countries have started implementing the new elements of these international standards, notably the trade by mode of transport, trade by country of consignment, trade by inward and outward processing, and imports valuation on an FOB basis.

Statistical offices are facing challenges to implement these new data elements, in addition to facing the practical challenges in their data compilation, such as the access to customs and other data sources, exclusion or inclusion of certain transactions, type of goods and territories, and data verification and imputation). Further, the expectations of the users of trade data have increased, and office nowadays also need to provide data analysis or data visualizations, and different skill sets are need to do so.

Finally, international merchandise trade statistics should be properly understood in conjunction with other types of economic statistics and macro-economic frameworks, such as national accounts statistics (see the System of National Accounts 2008), balance of payments statistics (see BPM6), and statistics of international trade in services (see MSITS 2010). The links with those statistics should be well understood and the 2012 Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics are useful in this regard.

Day 1: Monday, 3 April 2017

08:30 - 09:00
Registration for participants
09:00 - 10:00
Opening Session
  • Opening remarks (NSB, MCS, UNSD)
  • Adoption of provisional agenda and administrative matters (UNSD)
  • Purpose and context of the workshop (UNSD)
10:00 - 10:15
AM Break
10:15 - 11:00
IMTS 2010 Concepts and Definitions (UNSD)
  • Overview of the core concepts and definitions
11:00 - 12:30
Data Compilation Strategies

Country presentations from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) , Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India (DGCIS) , Maldives Customs Service (MCS) , National Statistics Bureau of Maldives (NSB) and Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) on practices in data pre-processing, cleansing, validation, dissemination and visualization:

  • Data acquisition & Institutional Arrangement
  • Data processing from raw data to produce trade statistics
  • Detections of outliers; data estimation and imputation
  • Ensuring quality of quantity information
  • Tools and techniques for data compilation
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 – 14:30
Data Compilation Strategies
  • Trade data processing in UN Comtrade (UNSD)
    • Pre-processing of data
    • Data standardization and harmonization
    • Outliers detection
    • Estimating quantity
    • Data conversion
14:30 - 14:45
PM Break
14:45 - 16:00
Data Quality Framework (UNSD)
  • Overview
  • Report on data quality (follow up on SACU workshop)

Day 2: Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Data Analysis using TradeSift
08:30 - 12:30
(with break)
  • Introduction to TradeSift and Principles of Trade
  • Demonstration of basic TS operations
  • Exercise 1: Basic TS operations based on pre-loaded data
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:00
(with break)
  • Trade policy, the Sussex Framework and TradeSift’s Core Indicators
  • Explaining TradeSift Diagnostic Indicators
  • Exercise 2: Revealed Comparative Advantage

Day 3: Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Data Analysis using TradeSift (continued)
08:30 - 12:30
(with break)
  • Data Sources: Classification Schemes & Obtaining Trade Data
  • Exercise 3: Core Indicators
  • Analysing RTA’s with TradeSift
  • Initial project work discussions
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:00
(with break)
  • Exercise 4: Identifying and Downloading trade data
  • Identifying possible export opportunities
  • Presentation of project ideas followed by discussion

Day 4: Thursday, 6 April 2017

08:30 - 10:00
Data Analysis and Visualization (UNSD)
  • Exploring and analyzing trade data using Tableau
10:00 - 10:15
AM Break
10:15 - 11:15
Data Analysis and Visualization (UNSD)
  • Examples from UN Comtrade Labs and others
11:15 - 12:30
Round table discussion: needs, challenges in compiling and analysing data
Moderated by UNSD
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:00
Closing session
  • Conclusion and recommendations of the workshop
  • Evaluation of the workshop and any other business


"Malé" by Timo Newton-Syms - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.