Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics
Strengthening Data Compilation and Analytical Capacity

  • Suzhou, China
  • 11-13 September, 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, reporting customs procedure codes, and imports valuation on an FOB basis. And in addition, countries are encourage to provide the data elements to global repository of official international trade statistics database (UN Comtrade) maintained by UN Statistics Division.

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, 11 September 2017

08:30 - 09:00
Registration for participants
Inaugural Programme
09:00 - 10:15
Opening session
10:15 - 10:30
AM Break
Part I — Fundamental Concepts and Definitions
10:30 - 11:30
Agenda Item (5)
Recommendations in IMTS 2010, MSITS 2010 and the 6th edition of the Balance of Payments Manual
11:30 - 12:15
Agenda Item (6)
Experiences with implementing the new data elements of IMTS 2010
Round Table Discussion I
12:15 - 13:45
13:45 - 15:30
Agenda Item (7)
Institutional Arrangements among agencies compiling IMTS, SITS and BOP, and adjusting IMTS for BOP purposes
Agenda Item (8)
Disseminating IMTS and BOP Trade in Goods
Round Table Discussion II
15:30 - 15:45
PM Break
Part II — Data Processing System
15:45 - 17:00
Agenda Item (9)
Data processing system; validation, consistency checking, detections of outliers and data estimation/ imputation; and ensuring quality of quantity information
17:00 – 17:30
Agenda Item (10)
Data processing system of UN Comtrade (UNSD)
  • Pre-processing of data
  • Data standardization and harmonization
  • Outliers detection
  • Estimating quantity
  • Commodity conversion

Day 2: Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Part III — Data Quality and Specific Measurement Issues
09:00 - 10:00
Agenda Item (11)
Cross border e-commerce
  • Introduction (UNSD), incl. the use of postal records to identify Cross-border E-commerce (UPU presented by UNSD)
  • In search of Cross-Border E-commerce Trade Data (UNCTAD)
10:00 - 10:30
Agenda Item (12)
Identifying and recoding e-commerce transactions
  • Country experiences (China Customs)
10:30 - 10:45
AM Break
10:45 - 12:15
Agenda Item (13)
Goods in warehousing and logistical activities
12:15 - 13:45
13:45 - 15:00
Agenda Item (14)
Data quality framework and indicators of quality
Round Table Discussion III
15:00 - 15:15
PM Break
15:15 - 16:30
Agenda Item (15)
Compiling statistics of trade in services related to goods
16:30 – 17:30
Agenda Item (16)
Needs and challenges in compiling data
Round Table Discussion IV

Day 3: Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Part IV — Measuring International Trade and Economic Globalization
09:00 - 10:00
Agenda Item (17)
Trade Classifications
  • Overview of the Harmonised System 2017 amendments (WCO)
  • BEC, Revision 5 (UNSD)
10:00 - 10:30
Agenda Item (18)
Bilateral trade asymmetries
  • Understanding and reducing bilateral trade asymmetries (UNSD)
10:30 - 10:45
AM Break
10:45 – 12:30
Agenda Item (19)
Accounting for Global Value Chains
  • Handbook on Accounting for Global Value Chains (UNSD)
  • Constructing multi-country supply-use tables (IDE-JETRO)
  • Trade in value added (WTO)
  • GVCs and ICT-enabled services (UNCTAD)
  • Data and empirical challenges when accounting for GVCs in trade analytical work (UNESCAP)
  • Example of GVC statistics in China (China Customs)
12:30 - 13:45
Part V — Data Analysis and Visualization
13:45 - 14:30
Agenda Item (20)
Data Analysis and Visualization
  • Examples from UN Comtrade Labs (UNSD)
  • Examples from ITC (ITC)
14:30 – 15:00
Agenda Item (21)
Examples on how trade data are used
15:00 - 15:15
PM Break
15:15 - 16:15
Agenda Item (22)
Needs, challenges in analysing data
Round Table Discussion V
16:15 – 17:00
Agenda Item (23)
Closing session
  • Conclusion and recommendations of the workshop
  • Evaluation of the workshop and any other business


"Suzhou - China" by Peter Makus - Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.