Regional Workshop on International Merchandise Trade Statistics

Implementing IMTS 2010 Concepts and Definitions
Jointly organized by AUC and UNSD; Hosted by SARS

  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 24-28 June 2019

Economic globalization, advancement in technology and the emergence of Big Data present many new challenges and opportunities for International Trade statistics. In order to meet these challenges and measure Trade more accurately, new recommendations for International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) were adopted by all UN member states through the UN Statistical Commission in 2010 (called IMTS 2010). Countries have been implementing the elements of these new recommendations, notably trade by mode of transport, trade by country of consignment, trade by inward and outward processing, reporting of customs procedure codes, and imports valuation on a Free On Board (FOB) basis.

In addition to these methodological challenges, the expectation and demand of Trade statistics users have increased. Data producers are now expected to offer modern dissemination platforms, relevant analyses and informative visualizations. Trade data producers are also encouraged to implement international standards for Data Exchange (SDMX) and share their data to be published in the global repository of official international trade statistics, the UN Comtrade database maintained by UN Statistics Division.

Finally, in order to support the sustainable development agenda, Trade statistics need to be properly understood in conjunction with other 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 the International Trade in Services (see MSITS 2010). Linking Trade statistics with Business statistics, and alignment across all Economic statistics are essential for measuring the Global Value Chain and for informing policy. The 2012 Guidelines on Integrated Economic Statistics are useful in this regard.

The workshop is a continuation of IMTS e-learning course organised by UNSD and UNCTAD in cooperation with WTO which was held from 25 March to 3 May 2019. The core concepts and definitions have already been covered in the e-learning course. The face-to-face workshop would focus on implementation challenges in countries. The main objectives of the workshop are:

  • to improve knowledge of latest methodology of Trade statistics;
  • to discuss and address challenges in data compilation, and to exchange country experiences in dealing with practical issues such as data acquisition, data processing, data dissemination, data exchanges, etc.;
  • to discuss emerging challenges in Trade statistics such as measuring digital trade, use of Big data; and how to address them;
  • to establish close cooperation among institutions providing, compiling and using Trade statistics; and
  • to understand linkages between Trade statistics and other related domains of Economic Statistics.
  • Monday, 24 June    Day 1 Presentations

    08:00 - 09:00
    Registration for participants
    09:00 - 10:30
    Opening and overview
    • Opening remarks
    • Adoption of provisional agenda and administrative matters
    • Purpose and context of the workshop
    • Overview on activities of International/Regional Organizations in the area of IMTS
    • IMTS within a context of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
      • Presentation: AUC
    11:00 - 12:00
    Core IMTS 2010 Concepts and Definitions
    • Overview of IMTS scope, coverage, time of recording, trade system, classification, valuation, quantity measurement, partner country
      • Presentation: UNSD
    12:00 - 12:45
    Defining and Measuring Digital Trade
    • Proposed conceptual framework and definition of Digital Trade
      • Presentation: WTO
    14:15 - 15:30
    Compilation challenges in implementation of IMTS 2010
    • Overview of compliance with IMTS 2010 data items
    • Challenges in Trade system and Customs Procedure Codes
    • Experience on implementation challenges
    • Compilation challenges in implementation of IMTS 2010
      • Presentations: Ghana, Mauritius, Zambia, COMESA, UNSD
    16:00 - 17:30
    Group Discussion: Can your country implement IMTS 2010?

    Tuesday, 25 June    Day 2 Presentations

    09:00 - 10:30
    Ensuring data quality
    • UN quality framework: NQAF 2019
    • Template on IMTS indicators of quality
      • Presentations: Indonesia, UNSD
    Group Discussion: Indicators of quality
    11:00 - 12:45
    Data reconciliation and bilateral trade asymmetries
    • Trade misinvoicing and bilateral trade asymmetries
    • Country presentations on reconciliation study
      • Presentations: Indonesia, Nigeria, SACU, UNSD
    Group Exercise: Identifying and reducing bilateral asymmetries
    14:15 - 15:30
    Bridging IMTS 2010 and BPM6
    • Conceptual differences between IMTS 2010 and BOP Trade in Goods
      • Presentation: UNSD
    Group Exercise: Deriving BOP Trade in Goods using IMTS data
    16:00 - 17:30
    Trade SDMX
    • Introduction to SDMX-IMTS and its capacity building
    • SDMX capacity building for countries
      • Presentations: COMESA, UNSD
    Group Exercise: Mapping country data to SDMX

    Wednesday, 26 June    Day 3 Presentations

    09:00 - 10:30
    Data visualization and communication
    • The use of data in trade negotiations and analysis
    • Visualizing data – good practices and examples
    • Country presentations on data dissemination
      • Presentations: Malawi, WTO, UN ECA, UNSD
    11:00 - 12:45
    External trade indices compilation method
    • Overview of compilation practices
    • Experiment: applying big data method of "Scanner data for CPI" in external trade indices
      • Presentations: Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, UNSD
    Group Discussion: Challenges in compiling XMPI
    14:15 - 15:00
    Emerging policy and measurement issues
    • Accounting for Global Value Chains
      • Presentation: WTO
    15:00 - 15:30
    Big data for IMTS
    • Big data for IMTS
      • Presentation: UNSD
    Group Discussion: Big data sources, Customs data and IMTS
    16:45 - 17:30
    Commodity Classification
    • Overview of BEC 5 and forthcoming HS 2022 and SITC 5
    • Future of HS: WCO HS Review Conference (May 2019)
      • Presentation: UNSD

    Thursday, 27 June    Day 4 Presentations

    09:00 - 09:45
    Valuation and Mode of Transport
    • Challenges in compiling an accurate valuation
    • Mode of Transportation
      • Presentation: Lesotho, Morocco, UNSD
    Group Exercise: Deriving imports FOB or CIF
    11:00 - 12:00
    Quantity Information
    • Introduction to quantity information
      • Presentations: Ethiopia, Nigeria, UNSD
    Group Exercise: Estimating quantity information
    14:15 - 17:30
    Trade data processing - good practices
    • Data processing in International Organizations
      • Presentations: Gambia, Seychelles, UNCTAD
    Group Exercise: Need for efficient data processing

    Friday, 28 June    Day 5 Presentations

    09:00 - 10:30
    Institutional Arrangements
    • The legal framework and institutional coordination as pillars of efficient national statistical systems
    • Country presentations on institutional arrangements
      • Presentations: Rwanda, South Africa, UNSD
    11:00 - 12:00
    Group Discussion: Establishing effective institutional arrangement
    12:00 - 13:00
    Conclusion of the workshop
    Evaluation of the workshop and other business
    14:30 - 15:45
    Closing ceremony